The Escape Of Chen GuangchengPosted: April 29, 2012
It is hard to imagine someone who would not moved by the recent escape of activist Chen Guangcheng from his captors in China. A person who will not allow his voice to be silenced should move us all to ensure we are heard.
What is particularly inspiring to me is the fact that Chen is blind. I don’t know for sure what happened in the days and moments leading to his escape from the floodlit, heavily guarded home where he was being held. While his captors were afraid of Chen’s words, I think they disregarded him physically because of his vision problems.
It’s sad that people treat those with physical limitations with disdain, but in this case, the result works out better for all concerned…except for his bumbling captors.
Inspired by the intersection of fortunate and unfortunate in this situation, I wrote this short play about Chen’s escape, from the point of view of his guards.
(Setting – A furnished living room in a modest home. There is a door, stage left, another stage right. A Chinese government guard, named Buck, is watching television when his partner walks in from checking on their prisoner)
Don (walking in to the room from stage left door) – OK, he’s still there. Mark down that I did the 11 pm check.
Buck – (putting down the TV remote, marking something on a clipboard) – Got it. Hey, you know, you don’t have to be so anal about doing the checks. He’s blind, where’s he going to go?
Don- Well, it is sort of our job, right?
Buck – There’s two of us, one of him. We are in the house with him. There’s a wall around the house. If he does anything, we’ll hear it.
Buck – (reaches under the couch he’s sitting on, pulls out a white cane, waves it in the air)
Don- Dude, you are a genius! Wait…the dog?
Buck – In the pen, out back. (Waves the key to the dog pen)
Don- SAWEEEEEET. You think of everything. I’ll go get some beer, you call for the pizza. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are on…Go Caps!
Buck – Go Caps!
(Setting remains the same. The guards are both asleep. They’re surrounded by empty pizza boxes and beer bottles. The television blares on.)
Don (wakes and walks sleepily to the door stage left. He opens then closes it. He opens it again, visibly startled by what he sees.) (yelling) Oh, dude, no way! Wake up, Buck.
Buck (sleepily, now wearing a hockey jersey stained with pepperoni grease) What’s your problem?
Don – Chen is gone!
Buck – Gone?
Don – What, am I speaking English? Read my lips, Buck. Gone!
Buck (leaping to his feet) – How could you let this happen?
Don- Me?!? Don’t start with me, Mr.”I Hid His Cane”.
Buck – Ok, ok. Let’s not get hung up in blaming people. We’re both in trouble here. How can we explain this?
Buck – I’ve got it! We’ll hit each other and say he overpowered us.
Don – I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but won’t they just say we could have avoided him because, you know… (points at the white cane)
Buck – Yeah. I don’t hear you helping us out here.
Don – Suppose we say he gassed us and put us to sleep?
Buck – He’s a lawyer, not a chemist.
Don- Good point. But you’ve got to give me that a bad lawyer can put you to sleep without gas, right? (then mocking Buck’s voice) He’s blind, where’s he gonna go?
(a knock at the stage right door indicates the arrival of the next shift and the beginning of trouble for Buck and Don. Both men look at one another, horrified)
Way to go Chen!