Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

In preparation

THE FLOWER ROOM by Erche Namu and Christine Matthieu

Adapted for Audio by Shaun Macloughlin

CAST CAST SPOT EFFECTS RECORDED EFFECTS MUSIC
Namu Mother
Dujema Monk

The Script

SCENE 1



NAMU:
Listen to
Episode 1
ESTABLISH ROWING ON LAKE AND SINGING OF MOSUO COURTSHIP SONG. THEN TAKE BACK UNDER OPENING NARRATION.


My alma doesn't remember when I was born. She doesn't remember the year or the month or the day. All she knows is that I cried too much.
MOTHER: From the moment you were born, you were trouble.
NAMU: But the mountains were already white.

(WE BEGIN TO HEAR TRADITIONAL MOSUO CHANTING TO ENCOURAGE BIRTH)

So she knew it was early winter, when the boy in her stomach refused to come out. Her friend Dujema gave her a dried corncob to bite on.

(MOTHER MOANS)
MOTHER: A boy is worth the pain.

(MOANING IS MIXED WITH BABY CRYING)
NAMU: My alma groaned louder and gave a big push.
DUJEMA: It's a big head. A boy's head.

(THE CHANTING CONTINUES)
NAMU: Dujema reached into the fireplace for a piece of kindling to light the holy sage brush. Its smoke drifted up through the opening in the roof towards the gods in heaven. Dujema passed the scissors through the smoke,

(SNIPPING OF SCISSORS AND DIPPING BABY INTO WATER.)

and cut the umbilical cord. Then she dipped me in the enamel basin.
DUJEMA: The room is cleansed. The water is pure. The baby is well. All is in harmony.
NAMU: And she handed me to my mother
DUJEMA: It's a girl.

(FADE EFFECTS)
NAMU: Alma's disappointment at my birth was unusual. We Mosuo people tend to favour daughters over sons. That's why the Chinese peope call us 'the Country of daughters'. Among us it is the women who inherit the family house, an who rule the household; but a family needs sons as well daughters. We need men to travel with the horse caravans, to trade in the outside world and to make the long journey to Lhasa,

(BRING UP MONK CHANTING)

to study the holy Buddhist scriptures and to become Lamas.

(BRING UP CRYING BABY)

Without our lamas we could not name our children or send the souls of the departed unto the next cycle of life.
Alma tried everything to stop me crying. Finally she asked the oldest lama in the village to name me.

(BRING UP MONK CHANTING)

He placed his hand on my belly.
MONK:Her name is Erche Namu.
MOTHER: Erche Namu. My princess.
NAMU: But I didn't stop crying until my younger brother arrived, and then I never cried again. My mother had several lovers before Djemi, my father, but he was the one she loved the most.

(LOVEMAKING AND LAUGHTER IN BACKGROUND)
MOTHER: When I was young, I used to imagine the young men, helpless with love, as they watched me bathe. I imagined them falling over each other to ofer me their coloured belts. Then when I fell in love the first time with Mondru, I left his coloured belt outside my flower room, as a sign that he was welcome to enter.
NAMU: As a girl I longed for my own flower room, where we receive our lovers.
We don't get married. It is said that the Mosuo are the only people in the world, who consider marriage an attack on the family. We have no word in our language for husband or for wife. Free relationships in which men visit their lovers at night and return to their mather house at dawn are known as 'walking marriages'.