Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Different Bali Hai

So, I saw South Pacific today with Sara, and it was excellent. (Thank you for taking me Sara!)

However, I have one fundamental issue with South Pacific that I just had to wash out of my hair.


A Different Bali Hai

Bali Hai. A native hut. The “Bali Hai” theme wafts through the space.

LIAT, a young Tonkinese woman, kneels on the floor.

LT. JOE CABLE, a young officer, enters, pushed in by BLOODY MARY.

He notices LIAT. The music for “Younger Than Springtime” begins to seep in.

CABLE
Who…

BLOODY MARY
This is Liat. We Tonkinese women are beautiful, aren’t we Lt. Cable?

CABLE
Does she speak…?

BLOODY MARY
Just Tonkinese. A bit of French.

CABLE takes a step. He approaches her. BLOODY MARY slowly walks away.

They lock eyes. She averts her gaze.

He kneels beside her. He takes off his shirt. He wraps his arms around her.

LIAT
Exactly what do you think you are doing Lt. Cable?

CABLE
I thought…

LIAT
You thought you could just waltz in here and run your hands all over me, eh? Fresh native woman, just ripe for the picking!

CABLE
I thought you didn’t speak English.

LIAT
My mother is a salesman. There are a great many untruths Bloody Mary will say to sell something pretty to a nice American soldier.

CABLE
Actually I’m a Marine—your mother?

LIAT
Marine, soldier, Navy – no difference. Sexy young American. Pfft.

CABLE
Why would telling me you didn’t speak English be part of a sales pitch?

LIAT
I don’t know. It makes me exotic. Enigmatic. Isn’t this what you Americans like in your little South Pacific girls?

CABLE
We—

LIAT
Isn’t that what you want in all your South Pacific? Something exotic, something enigmatic – an adventure. We’re different; we’re strange. Our customs aren’t the same. Our food is different. Look at how beautiful the view is! What a leisurely life these simple heathens lead. They haven’t a care in the world; food just falls from the sky. How exotic. How enigmatic. Let’s buy all sorts of souvenirs and destroy their way of life!

CABLE
I—

LIAT
And the women – oh, the women. They’re so beautiful; I hear they walk around in nothing but grass skirts! So beautiful… they lounge about all day, just waiting for a big, strong American officer to pluck in their prime. They never say no, and it’s all they can do to stop themselves from ripping off all your clothing and submitting to your every whim. They’re more than happy to bear your little half-breed babies you forget all about when you go back home to marry your nice girl from Atlanta. So beautiful – so exotic.

CABLE
She’s from Philadelphia.

LIAT
What?

CABLE
My girl from back home. She’s from Philadelphia.

LIAT
Atlanta, Philadelphia: they’re both American cities.

CABLE
Do you know the difference between Atlanta and Philadelphia?

LIAT
Can you tell the difference between these islands?

CABLE
I cannot tell you how intoxicating your anger is making you.

LIAT
That intoxication is completely contrary to the point I am trying to make. Have you heard a wit of what—

CABLE
You do fit one stereotype. You are beautiful.

LIAT
Please leave Lt. Cable. You’ve been here long enough for Mother to be satisfied. I’m sure you could easily find the village harlot if you walk around a bunch. Though I doubt you’ll find her more exotic or enigmatic than the whores you have back home.

CABLE
I hope to see you again Liat.

LIAT
I’m not ashamed to say I don’t hope the same.

CABLE kisses LIAT. Pause. She slaps him.

LIAT
Leave Lt. Cable.

CABLE smiles, then exits. LIAT sighs. "I've Got to Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair" wafts in. She glares. 

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