Kwon

Rebecca Dzida

CHARACTERS

SHAYNE, f, 30s-40s

CATHERINE, f, 30s-40s

SETTING

A small taekwondo tournament in a school gymnasium.

SHAYNE and CATHERINE watch their daughters spar in one of the rings. CATHERINE looks uncomfortable. SHAYNE is out of her seat, shouting her head off.

 

SHAYNE

Get her, Hadia! Come on! Kick! Kick! KIIIIICK!

(Pause.)

What? Ref, she was not out of bounds. Do not do not take off WHAT THE F

SHAYNE takes a deep breath in, like she really wants to cuss the ref off. She tries hard to contain herself. She growls, clenches her fists. Maybe she clandestinely flips off the ref? The match resumes. SHAYNE watches intently, dodging and feinting like she's fighting, too.

Go! 'Kay! Ten seconds, Hadia! Get her! GET HERRRRRRRRR!!!

Sound of the buzzer.

Alright! Get her in the next round!

 

SHAYNE finally sits down. CATHERINE looks to her, deciding whether she wants to say anything or not. She ops to say something.

 

CATHERINE 

Excuse me?

SHAYNE

Yeah?

CATHERINE

Is that your daughter over there?

SHAYNE

Yeah.

CATHERINE

She's sparring my daughter.

SHAYNE

Oh! Nice to meet you. My name's Shayne. My daughter's Hadia. What's your daughter's name?

CATHERINE

Natasha, and I'm Catherine. Listen, I'd appreciate it if you'd...calm down a little during the next round.

SHAYNE

Calm down?

CATHERINE

You're shouting a lot, and it's making people feel uncomfortable.

SHAYNE

I'm supporting my daughter.

CATHERINE

And I totally respect that. It's just you're coming off as very...aggressive.

SHAYNE

This is a taekwondo tournament.

CATHERINE

I know.

SHAYNE

Taekwondo is martial arts.

CATHERINE

Right

SHAYNE

And our daughters are sparring. They're not supposed to be aggressive?

CATHERINE

Again, I totally see where you're coming from, but they're eight years old. They can barely stay standing while they kick, let alone kick each other. It's just your shouting is a little much for this caliber of tournament. I'm just asking if you could tone if down a little.

SHAYNE

Look, I know I get intense, but I'm not going to "tone it down." I want my daughter to know that I'm here rooting for her. I want her to do her absolute best.

CATHERINE

I want my daughter to do her best, too. And I'm worried that you yelling "kick her" is hurting her feelings.

 

SHAYNE

Well, if she wants to continue with taekwondo or any other sport, she's going to have to get used to it. She'll hear a lot worse in her life and should learn to tune it out.

 

CATHERINE

Excuse me...I don't think you should tell me how to raise my child. 

SHAYNE

That's what you're doing to me.

CATHERINE

I'm not trying to mommy-shame you. I'm just trying to get you to lower your voice. 

SHAYNE

Well, I can't guarantee that, so either deal with it for the next two rounds, or sit somewhere else. They're starting back up.

Offended, CATHERINE sits down back at her place. When the second round starts, SHAYNE stands on the very edge of the ring.

Alright, Hadia! Let's go!

CATHERINE glances over at her, then gets up and stands next to SHAYNE.

CATHERINE

Go, Natasha! I love you, baby!

They watch the match.

SHAYNE

Come on! Pick it up!

They continue watching.

SHAYNE

That's it that's it!

CATHERINE

Careful, sweetie!

SHAYNE

Go after her. Kick kick kick kick kick!

CATHERINE gasps. There's a thump.

CATHERINE

Are you okay, honey? Honey, you okay?

SHAYNE

She's fine.

CATHERINE

Your daughter just kicked her, and she fell. She is not fine.

SHAYNE

I thought she tripped. Look. She's getting up. She's okay.

They watch. Then they clap.

CATHERINE​

Thank god. Good job, sweetie! Natasha, you okay? You let mommy know if you're not okay. 

SHAYNE

Way to go, Hadia! That's the way to do it!

The round resumes.

CATHERINE

You shouldn't encourage her to do that.

SHAYNE

Do what?

CATHERINE

Your daughter just kicked my child to the ground.

SHAYNE

Your child tripped, actually, but even if she didn't, do you see Hadia gloating over her? No. Now your daughter's got a half-point knocked off for not keeping her balance. 

CATHERINE

Because she was hit!

SHAYNE

Do you mind? I'm trying to concentrate on the match.

CATHERINE

Oh, you're trying to concentrate? You're trying to concentrate. 

SHAYNE

What's your problem?

CATHERINE

My problem is you are encouraging your eight-year-old daughter to commit acts of violence against mine. 

SHAYNE

Oh my god it's taekwondo! The way of the foot and the fist. It's the art of self-defense.

CATHERINE

Exactly!

The buzzer sounds again.

SHAYNE

Great, I missed the end of the round. Good job, Hadia! One more. 

SHAYNE steps back from the line. 

CATHERINE

They should learn how to defend themselves, not attack. It's...it's not ladylike.

SHAYNE

Where'd you get that idea?

CATHERINE

Girls shouldn't be aggressive.

SHAYNE

What the fuck? Why are you having your daughter do taekwondo, then? 

CATHERINE

My husband convinced me. I didn't know she'd actually fight other children.

SHAYNE

What did you think she was going to do?

CATHERINE

I thought they would teach her some moves, and that would be it. I can't watch Natasha get hurt.

SHAYNE

She's not getting hurt. She's wearing all that gear. The chest protector absorbs something like seventy percent of the force of the blow.

 

CATHERINE

Only seventy percent!

 

SHAYNE

They're not even allowed to do head shots, yet.

 

CATHERINE

They're going to get hit in the head?

 

SHAYNE

When they get to a higher belt.

CATHERINE

Oh my god!

SHAYNE

They're starting again. Don't worry. The referee will stop the match if it gets out of control. 

CATHERINE

We need to stop the match.

SHAYNE

What?

CATHERINE

I don't like this.

 

SHAYNE

Okay, is anyone else here with you? 

CATHERINE

My husband couldn't come. He should've told me what to expect. I've got to stop this. Excuse me!

 

SHAYNE

It's just one more round.

 

CATHERINE

Ref! Time out!

 

CATHERINE steps over the line to break up the match.

 

SHAYNE

Wait!

 

SHAYNE yanks her back, sharply.

 

CATHERINE

Don't touch me!

CATHERINE turns around and clocks one right in SHAYNE'S jaw. There's a gasp from the crowd. The match has stopped due to what's happened on the sidelines.

Oh my god. Oh my god. I am so sorry. I I didn't mean to. Oh my god. Here, sit down. Can I get you anything?

SHAYNE shakes her head.

I am so sorry.

(Turning out to the spectators.)

It was an accident.

(Back to SHAYNE.)

I am so sorry. I can't apologize enough.

SHAYNE

(To everyone else.)

It's okay. I'm okay. Just keep going.

(To CATHERINE.)

I didn't want you to get in the middle. You could've gotten hurt, or one of the kids.

The match resumes as SHAYNE works her jaw.

You punch pretty hard for someone who doesn't like violence.

CATHERINE

I don't know what came over me.

SHAYNE

Where did you learn to punch like that?

CATHERINE

I didn't. I really hurt my thumb.

SHAYNE

Oh shit. Can you move it?

CATHERINE

Yeah. But it hurts. I think I sprained it.

SHAYNE

God...I did not expect to get punched in the face today.

CATHERINE

I'm sorry. It's just...I don't like it when people grab me like that. I just reacted without thinking. Like a bad memory or something.

SHAYNE looks at her and comes to an understanding.

SHAYNE

You want to know why I have Hadia studying taekwondo? Because girls need to know they can kick the shit out of anyone who messes with them. Especially if it's a guy. They need to know not to take crap from any guy. It's not innate for some women.

CATHERINE watches SHAYNE for a moment. 

CATHERINE 

Can you show me the correct way to punch?

SHAYNE

Uh...sure. Give me your hand. The one that's not hurt. Make a fist. So your thumb needs to be on the outside, supporting your knuckles. These are what do the punching. Think about it like this.

SHAYNE demonstrates with her own hand.

Close the gate.

She folds her fingers down.

Then lock it.

She closes the fist with her thumb.

You try.

CATHERINE

Close the gate. Lock it.

SHAYNE

When you punch, the power comes from your hips. Clench your core and snap your hips.

CATHERINE

Okay.

Catherine tries it a few times.

SHAYNE

That's pretty good. Now you can help your daughter. 

CATHERINE

I'm really sorry about punching you in the face.

SHAYNE

It's okay. It's, uh...not the first time for me. Just been a while since.

CATHERINE looks at SHAYNE and comes to an understanding. Then she turns back to the match.

CATHERINE

Let's go, Natasha!

SHAYNE

You're doing great.

CATHERINE

Oh! Ten more seconds!

SHAYNE

Finish strong!

CATHERINE

Kick her!

The buzzer sounds.

You did it!

SHAYNE

Well done, young lady!

CATHERINE

You kick ass!

SHAYNE and CATHERINE high five.

END OF PLAY.

 

 

 

  

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Rebecca Dzida grew up in California and lives in Washington, DC where she received her M.F.A. in Playwrighting from The Catholic University of America. Her day jobs include developing community engagement programming and organizing the cross-country tour of National Players for Olney Theatre Center. Rebecca's work has been performed around the country. She is a two-time finalist of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for her ten-minute plays. Her one-act The Greatest Performance was nominated for the Playwrights Award at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City. She's also been commissioned for various work around DC, including Capitol Fringe and the One-Minute Play Festival. Her full-length thesis play Preggers, or Parenthood for Virgins premiered at CUA as part of the M.F.A. New Play Rep and was featured in the Washington Post's list of best arts events in 2017. You can read her work on the New Play Exchange and listen to her play Cake Eaters on the podcast Inkubator On Air. Kwon was previously produced at the Spark Festival (formerly Womxn on Fire Festival) in March 2020.