CAST OF CHARACTERS
MOTHER: A woman in her 50s, skeptical, has had an unfulfilled life, but did what she had to do to raise a family.
DAUGHTER: Her daugther, early 30s, still optimistic, but at a crossroads in life.
KITE MAN: An elderly man, pretending to fly a kite. Quite cheerful.
LIGHTS UP ON:
(KITE MAN is center stage. He is miming flying a kite and looking up at it as if it were very high. The audience should not yet be aware that he is pretending. MOTHER and DAUGHTER enter.)
DAUGHTER: I just feel like... we're in a rut.
MOTHER: Have you tried spicing things up?
DAUGHTER (Embarrassed): Yes, mom. But John likes mild. In everything from Indian food to the bedroom.
MOTHER: Then you need to have children.
DAUGHTER (Surprised): Children?
MOTHER: Raising kids will strengthen the bond between you.
DAUGHTER: Knowing him, I'll end up doing all the work myself.
MOTHER: He'll rise to the call. Most men do.
(DAUGHTER falls silent.)
DAUGHTER (Struggling): I’m not... happy being with John anymore.
MOTHER: Once you have babies in the house, there's no way you can be unhappy.
DAUGHTER: You were.
MOTHER: I wasn't.
(MOTHER looks for distraction, sees KITE MAN.)
MOTHER: Is that man flying a kite?
DAUGHTER: Well, he's not walking a dog.
MOTHER (Looking up): I don't see it.
DAUGHTER: It's up there. So high, it's hard to see.
MOTHER: You see it?
DAUGHTER: Yeah? (Points) There.
DAUGHTER: Where I’m pointing.
MOTHER: I don’t see a thing.
DAUGHTER (To KITE MAN): How'd you get it so high?
KITE MAN: Years of practice.
DAUGHTER: That's amazing.
MOTHER: I still don't see it.
DAUGHTER: It's there.
MOTHER: What's the point of flying a kite so high that not even you can see it?
KITE MAN: I enjoy the challenge.
DAUGHTER: Maybe you need glasses, Mom.
MOTHER: My eyesight is perfect. You should know, you inherited it.
DAUGHTER: And I can see the kite.
MOTHER: What color is it?
KITE MAN: More of an orange.
DAUGHTER: Well, it looks yellow from here.
MOTHER: Maybe you're mistaking a bird for it.
DAUGHTER: Then it's one strange-shaped bird.
MOTHER: A cloud then?
DAUGHTER: I know the difference between a cloud and a kite.
MOTHER: Is it even possible to get it that high? Wouldn't the winds up there tear it to shreds?
KITE MAN: Not if you know what you’re doing.
(MOTHER continues to search for it.)
MOTHER: There's no kite up there.
DAUGHTER: What do you think, Mom? He's pretending to fly a kite just to fool passersby?
KITE MAN: A lot of trouble to go through to fool passersby.
MOTHER: It could be an invisible kite.
DAUGHTER: Why not a very small kite? So it appears further away.
MOTHER: Whatever he's doing, it's some kind of trick.
DAUGHTER: So you'd rather there be no kite than believe it were that high up.
MOTHER: Seeing is believing my dear.
DAUGHTER: But I am seeing.
MOTHER: Then you’re delusional.
DAUGHTER: Thanks, Mom.
KITE MAN: If seeing is believing, than the delusional man is a believer as well, no?
MOTHER: No. He's still delusional.
KITE MAN: But at least he gets to see a pretty kite.
(They all stare up for a moment. MOTHER grows frustrated.)
MOTHER: Reel it in.
DAUGHTER (Surprised): Mom!
KITE MAN: I'm not done flying yet.
DAUGHTER: Why would you ask him to do that?
MOTHER: I want to see if there's really a kite at the end of that...
(MOTHER notices there is no rope in his hands.)
DAUGHTER: OK, Mom, let’s go. You’ve harassed the man who just came here to fly a kite enough.
KITE MAN: I'm used to it.
MOTHER (Pointing at his hands): There’s no rope! I told you he was making the whole thing up.
DAUGHTER: Maybe it's invisible rope.
MOTHER: There's no such thing. (To KITE MAN) Why would you do something like that to us?
KITE MAN: I'm not doing anything to you. I'm just flying a kite.
DAUGHTER: And he was minding his own business until you interrupted him.
MOTHER: He entrapped me with his fake kite flying.
DAUGHTER: Wow, Mom. Were you always this cynical?
MOTHER: I am with men who try to fool us.
KITE MAN: I'm not trying to fool anybody.
MOTHER: You fooled my daughter.
DAUGHTER: Nobody fooled me, Mom.
MOTHER: But you saw a kite that wasn't there!
KITE MAN: What would the younger you see?
MOTHER: You stay out of this.
DAUGHTER: He has a point. If you were my age and you came across this kite flyer, would you believe him?
(DAUGHTER and KITE MAN stare at her. They're not buying it.)
KITE MAN: I don't believe you.
MOTHER: You don't know me.
KITE MAN: Or do you not know yourself?
MOTHER: What? Do you think you're some kind of guru, trying to teach us about life by speaking in riddles?
KITE MAN: Nope. I'm just flying a kite.
MOTHER: No you're not!
DAUGHTER: Mom. Let it go.
(MOTHER looks to the sky and thinks for a moment, then turns to her daughter.)
MOTHER: When I was your age, I would have seen the most beautiful kite imaginable.
DAUGHTER: What happened?
DAUGHTER: That's a lame excuse.
(DAUGHTER thinks for a moment.)
DAUGHTER: Do you remember when you lost your imagination?
MOTHER: No. It's just as the years went on I...
(MOTHER thinks for a moment)
MOTHER: You have to be different. You have to always see that kite.
DAUGHTER: I will.
MOTHER: Not if you stay in a marriage that makes you unhappy.
DAUGHTER: I was happy. Once.
KITE MAN: Winds change.
MOTHER: They sure do. When the magic of your marriage disappears, you begin to lose your faith in all kinds of magic.
DAUGHTER: So this guy's gone from a fake kite flying, riddle spewing guru to an allegory about my marriage.
KITE MAN: I'm just flying a kite.
(MOTHER is about to protest, but instead turns to her daughter.)
MOTHER: I'm scared you're going to follow in my footsteps, just like I followed in my mother's. She was so unhappy.
DAUGHTER: I know. I can't recall grandma ever smiling.
MOTHER: Neither can I.
DAUGHTER: Come to think of it, I saw you smile less and less as I got older.
MOTHER: I don't want you to stop smiling.
DAUGHTER: Can't smile every day.
KITE MAN: I do.
MOTHER: Are you married?
KITE MAN: Happily.
DAUGHTER: Do you have children?
KITE MAN: And grandchildren.
DAUGHTER: So, your advice is to come fly a kite whenever you're feeling unhappy?
MOTHER: Or come pretend to fly a kite.
KITE MAN: No. My advice is to be with somebody who makes you happy.
MOTHER: And why isn't your wife here flying a kite with you?
KITE MAN: She prefers fishing.
MOTHER: Bet she catches the biggest fishes.
KITE MAN: Always. And the ones that get away are bigger. We enjoy talking to each other about our separate interests.
DAUGHTER: Wish I could do that with my husband, but he gets angry when I do things without him.
KITE MAN: That's too bad.
(They all watch the sky for a moment.)
MOTHER: Don't have children with him.
DAUGHTER: But you just suggested it.
MOTHER: That's what I felt I had to do. And I'm happy I did, but... you need to learn from my mistakes. If you're unhappy, get a divorce.
DAUGHTER: But I'm... scared.
MOTHER: That's no excuse to stay in a bad marriage. Or you're going to spend your entire life afraid. Do it now, before you bring children into your unhappiness.
(DAUGHTER digests this.)
DAUGHTER: Maybe a trial separation at first.
MOTHER: Release him into the wind. See if he takes flight on his own.
(MOTHER smiles at KITE MAN. He does not return it. Her smile falls.)
KITE MAN: Or perhaps it will be your daughter who is like the kite. She will soar into the sky.
DAUGHTER: But there's still a string attached.
KITE MAN: Is there?
(They all look at his empty hands. Then look back up at the sky. Each is deep in contemplation. After a moment:)
KITE MAN (To MOTHER): Would you like to try?
MOTHER: Flying your... kite?
KITE MAN: Yes.
MOTHER: But it's... I... I'd be too scared I'd crash it.
KITE MAN: It's pretty sturdy up there. You'll be fine.
(KITE MAN presents the invisible rope to the MOTHER.)
DAUGHTER: Go on, mom. Do it.
(MOTHER mimes taking the rope. She pretends to feel it tugging.)
MOTHER: Wow. I can really feel it.
DAUGHTER: So you're saying that seeing may not be believing, but feeling is?
MOTHER: No. I’m just flying a kite.
(Lights slowly fade as they watch the sky.)
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