The Forever Love of Oishi and Eiji: A Tragedy in Three Acts
A short play about Oishi and Eiji.

Notes On Staging

There is no set. The play is to be performed on an empty stage using only the space in front of the drawn curtain. Props should be minimal.

Oishi and Eiji both dress in tennis outfits, holding racquets at all times. Alternatively, Eiji may be costumed as a cat and Oishi as a Roman senator, but racquets may on no account be omitted.



ACT I

Oishi is alone.

OISHI
Oh! What a gusty sigh escapes my lips,
As here I linger, brooding on my state
Of solitary life, as yet unjoined
In bonds of gentle love. Alas for this!

There is one, though, whom I would call my own,
A teasing creature, with a merry heart
And pleasing face. But he'll ne'er cleave to me.
For like the sun, he rises, shines, and sets
Without a thought for those who worship him.

But soft! Someone approaches! I must hide
Away my melancholy and put on
A mask of cheer. No one shall know my pain.

Enter Eiji.

EIJI ( bounding )
Hoi hoi!

OISHI ( aside )
It is the very one whom I desire
Come hence to bring a light to my dark world.
( to Eiji )
My greetings to you, Eiji, on this day.

EIJI ( throws himself onto Oishi )
Oishi! I'm bored, nyah!

OISHI ( aside )
Oh how I wish that I could entertain you
With such sports of love of which I dream
When lying wakeful in my bed o' nights.

EIJI ( whining )
Why won't you talk to me? You're so mean, Oishi!

OISHI ( aside )
My cruelty is kindness, since to speak
My heart is cruel. I'll be more circumspect.

EIJI
Wah! I'll cry!

OISHI ( aside )
No stronger suasion could you work on me
To break the silence which now guards my lips.
I'll speak! But 'gainst the warning in my heart
That this can but distress you.
( to Eiji )
Stay, my friend.
I would not see those eyes grow red and weep
Through fault of mine, or any other cause.
My mind I'll open to you now and give
To all my thoughts a voice, for friendship's sake.

EIJI
Want to go see a movie, Oishi? We can get ice cream, nyah!

OISHI
For I am sunk in tedium and grief,
As day by day, a love beats in my heart,
Unheard, unnoticed by its own sweet source.
Thus my unworthy self grows e'er more sad
And longs to make confession. But I fear
To loose my tongue would cause more grief to him.
So silence is my custom, peace my creed.

EIJI ( jumping excitedly )
Oiiiii-shiiiii! You like a boy! Oishi likes a boy! Who is it? Tell me! Tell me!

OISHI ( aside )
I have put one foot forward. Dare I walk
This path unto its end? No, for I care
More for another's heart than for my own
And would not see it ache on my account.

EIJI
Tell me! Don't be mean, nyah! I want to know!

OISHI ( aside )
Oh! Were that it were anyone but you
Who asks this of me. Them I could refuse
Without a qualm. But so importunate
Are your entreaties and so soft your eyes,
I cannot keep my vow. Forgive me, friend,
If thus I gamble your long happiness
Against this briefer joy.
( to Eiji )
Then I'll make bold
And tell you plainly that the one I love
Is you, Eiji, and shall be all my life.

EIJI
Oishi, you like me?

OISHI
I dare to own it. You are all my heart.

EIJI
You want to be my boyfriend?

OISHI
Such favour I could never hope to earn,
But am resigned to love without requite.
To have my love returned is but a fant'sy
With which I cheer the darkness of my days.

EIJI
And then you would take me to the movies and buy me ice cream?

OISHI
For you, there is no deed I would not dare,
No cost I would not pay, were it my life.

EIJI
Okay, you can be my boyfriend, nyah!

OISHI ( aside )
Am I asleep e'en now? Is this my dream?
For never did I once believe this day
Could come to pass. This shock of joy may be
My death. But such a sweet end it would be.
( to Eiji )
If you would take this worthless, humble fool,
Then he's your man to do with what you will.
Oh, Eiji! Let me hold you in my arms
So that I may discern that you are flesh
And will not melt away. My sweetest love!

They embrace.

EIJI
Movies now! Wah! I want peppermint ice cream!

Exeunt omnes.



ACT II

Enter Oishi and Eiji, hand in hand. Eiji drags Oishi all over the stage throughout the act.

OISHI ( aside )
Twelve days and nights has this world swung about
The sun while I have likewise made of you
The centre of my orbit, all the fix
and focus of my thoughts, my deeds, my life.

EIJI
Look! A bookstore! Let's go in!

OISHI ( aside )
We've not been parted. Of this privilege
I had but dreamed and never dared to hope
Dreams could be real. For fear of causing pain
To one so sweet, I held my eager tongue,
And only let it free to stop your tears.

EIJI
Oishi, there's a butterfly! Catch it, nyah!

OISHI ( aside )
Your heart is light, your happiness undimmed
By my rash act. Of this I am most glad.
For I would never grieve your gentle soul
Nor place a burden on you. I will bear
Such troubles on my own, for I am strong.

EIjI
Wah! I want a drink! Buy me a drink!

OISHI ( aside )
In sooth, it's strength I'll need. For while the sun
Is glorious from afar and gives both heat
And light to make the flowers grow, the trees
To rise, and all the earth a verdant garden,
Nearer to, the light is blinding, flames
Lick out and burn, the heat does suffocate.
Likewise a taste of honey fills the mouth
With sweetness, but to gorge on honey sickens
Any man. And so it is with me.

EIJI
Oishi, you're so cute! ( pinches Oishi's cheek ) I'm cute too, right?

OISHI ( aside )
For while I stood aside and let the longing
Fill my heart, I wept now and again,
Sighed gently at the love I bore for you,
And lived a week upon one merry smile
Dropt from your lips. But I am sun-sick now,
And loathe to sip one drop of nectar more.
For I would rather starve of love than surfeit.

EIJI
Let's go to the arcade! Don't be mean, nyah!

OISHI ( aside )
But though I would be anywhere but here,
And long to find my solitude once more,
My promises I'll keep, my bonds I'll wear,
And you'll not know the secret in my breast,
But see the smiling face that I'll put on,
To hide my anguish from you. Would that I
Had been so resolute before. Alas!
But manfully I'll bear it.
( to Eiji )
All your words
Are law to me. Lead on and I will follow.

EIJI
Hoi hoi!

Exeunt omnes.



ACT III

Enter Oishi. He looks disturbed and carries a small box.

OISHI
Long days I've sought to find a single hour
In which to stand alone and in the shade.
I have been baking in the sun 'til all
My brain is crazed, my thoughts bewitched, and just
One purpose left in clarity: my freedom.

But still my conscience pricks at me -- my heart
Is not so monstrous yet, so cruel, to tell
You to your face of all my love grown cold,
My joy to sorrow, and desire to loathing.
For some small corner of my mind still holds
The memory of love. And for its sake,
I have prepared another way to rid
Myself of this unwanted troth, and free
You from your promises to such a cad,
A blackguard, knave, and villain such as I.

Within this box, a spider is secured,
Minute, but with a bite so venomous
That one drop in a jug of wine would fell
Ten of the strongest men. I'll loose the lid,
And as it scuttles to and fro, I'll give
My hand to it, and pray it be my doom.

For thus my death will seem a tragedy
Unlooked for, chance not perfidy. Upon
Your thoughts of me no shade of doubt will fall,
No faithless stain will mar, and you'll believe
I loved you to the end. Farewell, my friend!

Enter Eiji.

EIJI
Hoi hoi!

OISHI ( aside )
Ah! Curse the melancholy mood that cloaks
My heart and leads me into self-reflection.
For I have missed my chance and must now hope
To seize another. But I fear not soon
Will such a time present itself.
( to Eiji )
Eiji!
My hour is sweetened. As the fragrance of
A rose suffuses all the room, now you
Have filled my very heart.
( aside )
The rose has thorns!

EIJI ( hangs onto Oishi )
Oishi, where were you, nyah? I was looooonely!

OISHI
I ask your pardon for my thoughtless deeds.
I had a mind to walk about the town
And seek a gift for you, some pretty thing
That would delight your eyes and cheer your heart.

EIJI
Oh, Oishi, is that it? ( grabs at the box ) Give me my present! Wah!

OISHI ( yanking the box away )
No, leave this be. You cannot open it.

EIJI ( whining and still trying to get the box )
Come on, Oishi! Give it to me now! Give it! I want it!

OISHI ( aside )
I must not let it fall into his hands,
To keep him safe from harm is still my goal.
( to Eiji )
Sweet Eiji, let it be, for it is naught.
No bauble fit for you, no charming toy
That you would want it. Come, we'll go together
And for you, I'll buy what e'er you ask.

EIJI ( grabbing at the box and jumping up and down )
I'm mad at you! Give it now! I want it! If you don't give to me now, I'll hold my breath and pass out, nyah!

Oishi is speechless. He clutches the box out of Eiji's reach. Eiji starts to pummel Oishi on the back.

EIJI
Wah! Wah! Wah!

Oishi drops the box and the lid falls off. He yells incoherently, pulls out a knife, and stabs Eiji repeatedly.

OISHI
Die! Die! Die! Die! Die!

Eiji slumps to the ground, bleeding.

EIJI ( gasping )
Oishi! You're so mean, nyah!

Eiji expires.

OISHI
What have I done? What madness took my mind
And drove me to this wanton, brutal act?
I am a murderer, a vicious man,
Marked now by death and blood. Your death and blood,
Sweet friend. My soul is stained, my body reeks
Of sin. There is but one deed left to do,
To make my payment for this evil act
And follow you once more: Eiji, for you!

Oishi stabs himself and expires next to Eiji.

Enter Inui and Tezuka.

INUI
What befell here? What murder has been done?
( examining the bodies )
The first to fall was Eiji, as I see,
By Oishi's hand. Then Oishi plunged the knife
In his own breast. A grievous end to their
Late happiness, though I had thought mayhap
There was some cooling of Oishi's love.
This tragedy, I ween, is the result.

TEZUKA
Oishi! Eiji! Fifty laps.

INUI ( writing in notebook )
Tezuka, they can't run laps if they're dead.

TEZUKA ( bending down )
Look, a spider.

Tezuka expires.

INUI ( steps on spider )
Two morals can we draw from such a sight --
The first: be moderate in love, my friend.
The second: be on guard 'gainst spider's bite.
And with these words, our play is at an end.

Exit Inui.