A stage play entitled ‘THE TRYST’
by Airil Haimi Adnan, circa May 1997


A Male Protagonist
A Female Protagonist
Café Patrons, Waiters and Waitresses


The play is set on a hot afternoon in a café. On the stage is a table for two by one of the windows in the café, in a quiet corner of the shop. Once in a while, patrons of the café are seen walking in the backdrop together with waiters and waitresses. The two protagonists are in the middle of the setting both seating facing the other and facing the audience. The whole stage is brightly lit to show the mood of the setting.

The tryst

In the background, a soft, mellow song is playing, suiting the atmosphere of a hot, lazy afternoon. The two protagonists are made to stand from the background by using a soft spotlight on both of them. They are both dressed formally and plainly. As the play starts, voices and other noises are heard in the background until they become mere whispers as the protagonists start to talk and finally fade as the play progresses.

The play starts with the spotlight focusing on the female protagonist as she sits alone, eagerly waiting for something. She looks restless and looks at her watch a few times. She orders a drink and looks out of the window as if searching for something, stands up and after a while sits back down when she sees something. At this point a man enters the stage, he looks around until he sees the girl and slowly approaches.


FEMALE: (Looking restless) I thought you wouldn’t come.
MALE: (Trying hard to smile) I’m sorry I was late (Long pause) Had some things to do.
F: (A waitress sends the woman her drink) Wanna drink or something?
M: Er, no thanks.
F & M (simultaneously): How long has it been?
M: I don’t know… Fifteen… Maybe twenty years. Long time.
F: Twenty three years to be exact. Very long time.
M: You remembered?
F: (Sighs) I remembered.
M: (Looks outside the window) Very long time.
F: So… What’ve you been…
M: (Cutting in) Up to? Not much. I’m still teaching at the University.
F: That’s what you always wanted.
M: You?
F: (Looks outside the window) I own an agency now in…
M: I don’t wanna know.
F: (Sipping some water) You never cared.
M: (Sighs) I did… once… but…
F: (Quietly) But you cared only for yourself.
M: No, that’s not true… I (pauses) I was young then, you were young too.
F: We were young, then.
M: Besides I never meant…
F: (Quickly) You never meant for anything to happen. But it did.
M: I didn’t know what to do.
F: You knew just what to do… Then you got scared.
M: I loved you.
F: (Long pause) I still do.
M: I wonder…
F: Wonder what?
M: Where she is now.
F: I don’t know… They never told me.
M: You said you knew.
F: I lied so that you come.
M: (Deep sigh) You always lied.
F: I never lied.
M: You always lied… Very long time… You, you’re still the same.
F: You’re still the same.
M: Maybe… But I’ve changed… I’ve tried… I’ve tried.
F: It’s too late now.
M: What is?
F: (Looks away) Changing.
M: It’s never too late… I’ve tried.
F: I’ve changed too.
M: For better? (Pauses) For worse?
F: For myself.
M: What do you mean?
F: After it happened I was alone… Had to take care of myself… And you…
M: What? What about me?
F: (Sighs) And you went off like nothing happened.
M: (Whispering) I felt pain too.
F: (Distressed) Pain? You don’t know what pain means.
M: I do… I do.
F: You do, that’s why you ran away.
M: I didn’t run.
F: But you did. You left me cause you’re too scared.
M: Scared? Scared of what?
F: Scared of reality.
M: Huh, reality? You never even told me… About her… You denied she existed.
F: (Long pause) I didn’t know.
M: (Harshly) Didn’t know? All that time and you didn’t know?
F: I was too scared… Didn’t know what to do.
M: (Quietly) At least we could’ve…
F: Could’ve what? Do the same thing we always do? (Sighs) What about me?
M: What about you?
F: I was too weak… I could’ve… I could’ve died.
M: But… But you should’ve told me.
F: And then what? You’d just pack your bags and go.
M: That never crossed my mind.
F: You always run away. You know it, I know it… Besides…
M: Besides?
F: Besides if I died… You’ll be in deeper trouble.
M: I know… I know.
F: You never knew… You never cared… (Loudly) You never cared about me!
M: (Long pause) I did.
F: Because you were scared.
M: Scared? I never was…
F: (Cuts in) You were… You were scared if they knew… You’d be in trouble.
M: But… I… I… Ah it was a long time ago.
F: To me it was just yesterday.
M: I’m sorry.
F: Don’t be.
M: Why?
F: We were both wrong.
M: We were both wrong.
F: What time is it?
M: Quarter to three… Why?
F: I’ve things to do.
M: Things? I thought you weren’t working today?
F: No, I’m not.
M: Then? Don’t tell me you got a husband waiting somewhere? (Smiling)
F: No, no husband… Just forget it.
M: Family… Shouldn’t you?
F: Shouldn’t you?
M: I can’t.
F: Why?
M: Not ready… Too much work… Besides I’m happy the way I am.
F: Happy alone?
M: Not happy… Relaxed, at ease, just fine… What about you?
F: What for?
M: What for? I don’t know… Well you should, you know.
F: What for? I’ve a job, a house, a car, what more could I want?
M: A family? A life? Don’t tell me you’ve lost hope.
F: (Sighs and looks out of the window) No need.
M: What about kids? Don’t you want them?
F: I can’t.
M: (Surprised) You can’t?
F: I can’t… I don’t want to.
M: (Whispering) I… I never knew… I… I…
F: (Sighs) You never cared.
M: I cared.
F: Because you were afraid.
M: (Sighs) So, what’s next?
F: What about?
M: You know… Your plans?
F: I never really thought about it.
M: You should.
F: You should too.
M: I know.
F: Life goes on, you know.
M: It’ll never be the same.
F: It was never the same… Since…
M: (Quietly) I know.
F: No, you don’t.
M: But I… I cared… We were so young.
F: We did all the wrong things.
M: All the wrong things.
F: (Sighs) Seems like a very long time.
M: What?
F: Us.
M: (Sighs) I know.
F: Very long time.
M: Very long time.

At this point the stage lights slowly dim simultaneously with the voices of the café patrons and other background sounds become louder until the stage becomes exactly like it was at the start. After a minute or two, the stage lights are turned on gradually. A soft spotlight focuses on the male protagonists as he sits at the table, alone and at this point the background music is heard clearly. He looks down and looks out of the window as if he is thinking of something. He sips a drink from the female protagonist’s glass and slowly exits the stage. The stage lights are switched off one by one and all that is left is silence.