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April 7 -8 1995, premiere at he Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, New York City


Stage Photo



The scene opens at an entrance to Central Park with three benches lined up on the stage facing the audience. A Japanese tourist family - mother, father, daughter and son - enter the park, walking slowly, carrying many shopping bags. They sit on the stage center bench and the parents begin checking all the items in their shopping bags, one by one, against their very long shopping list. They experience tremendous pressure to purchase gifts for each of their relatives and neighbors. The daughter, reading a book, ignores her parents while the son, bored, begins chasing pigeons. He frightens a fat lady who is sitting on the next bench feeding the pigeons. Father scolds the young boy, spanking his bare hips. A policeman rushes over and accuses father of child abuse and tries to arrest him. After this is straightened out, the family goes on with checking their purchases against the list. The children ask father to take a walk but he strictly forbids them to leave the bench. The parents get into an argument over some of their gifts and the children slip away unnoticed. The parents frantically look for them and when found, they all return to their bench, only to discover that it has now been taken over by a young aggressive homeless man.

The family moves to another bench and mother and father again continue arguing about their presents. Mother gets angry and walks away with the children leaving father on the bench alone. He is feeling very upset and abandoned. He begins opening some of the presents, eating Godiva chocolates and swigging on the Remy Martin cognac. He even gives the homeless men several of the gifts and $50.00 in cash. A WASPy looking gentlemen approaches father and tells him that he is a college professor teaching students about Japanese culture. Father instantly trusts him and confesses how he hates shopping and vacations and they develop a strange friendship singing "New York, New York, together, dancing on the bench and placing Statue of Liberty head bands on their heads. Father tells the WASPy gentlemen about a childhood memory of the Empire State Building shaped into a chocolate cake that he saw at a U.S. army base when he was a child. Before departing the gentlemen asks father to loan him some money saying his wallet had just been stolen. Father gives him $100. When the other family members return, they find father laughing hysterically. They all start laughing together and forgive each other and decide to visit the Empire State building in the afternoon. Father takes a picture of the family in front of the park bench. While they are posing for the camera, the WASPY gentlemen speedily runs across up stage followed by a policeman.


Cast & Staff