Kate Wu, guidance counselor extraordinaire, has her hands full with overachieving, Ivy League hopeful Alex Chan, but not for the reasons you'd suspect. When Kate discovers how profoundly Alex is being affected by her parents' gender bias, she gives her young protege some questionable advice that leads them both down a rocky path.
ACT I, Scene 1
The guidance counselor’s office. KATE is seated
behind her desk, flipping through a file. ALEX is
seated on the other side and very still.
God, files like yours sure do make my job easy. Four-point-five GPA, four AP’s, skipped ahead twice. Congrats on the National Merit distinction, by the way. It says here that you speak four languages fluently and that you can play…
One, two three… five different instru… you play the harp?
Huh. So then nine languages, really. That’s how I think of it, anyway. I don’t play any instruments, if you can believe that. An Asian chick who doesn’t play an instrument, right? It’s like a lion that doesn’t eat meat. Friggin’ vegan tiger or something…
(Kate laughs a little at her own joke. Alex does not.)
Um… okay. Well. All this to say, you’ve really got a lot going for you, but—and I say this with as much love as is appropriate to feel for a student—you gotta work on your sense of humor.
You know… you gotta… do …something.
Listen, I’m gonna be straight with you. This list you put together? Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, MIT…Columbia as your safety…they see kids like you all the time. Don’t get me wrong, your accomplishments are… huge. You’ve accomplished a lot and you should be proud. But… well… there are an awful lot of Chans in the applicant pool, if you catch my drift. And I would know. I was on admissions at Cornell for three years. Which was just long enough for me to want to get out. I mean literally, I had colleagues rolling their eyes, going “Lucy Wong, yearbook editor. Surprise, surprise…” Problem was, nine times out of ten, Miss Wong probably didn’t have a single silly picture in that frickin’ yearbook. Not a shred of evidence that she had fun or a personality or anything that might set her apart from the eight hundred other Wongs who applied. If she’d only pulled a massive prank on an evil teacher and written about it in her college essay. Demonstrated her flaming need to question authority. If only she’d joined the
African-American Cultural Association just to throw bitches off. That… that would have made it very difficult for those button-down bastards to roll their eyes. And that’s why I’m here. To
catch’em early. To let you guys know that you have more to offer than test scores and certificates. Please tell me you know that…
(Alex just looks at Kate, dumbfounded.)
Come on. Give me something. What do you think sets you apart from all those other ridiculously high-achieving Chans out there? Hm? You must have a fire in there somewhere… a secret wish maybe?
(Alex slowly opens her mouth. Kate looks hopeful.)
I think I want to kill myself.
3 Asian Women (1 teen-looking, 2 - 30's/40's)
1 Asian Man (late-40's)
1 Black Man (30's/40's)
1 White Man (teen-looking)
Orange County, CA; present
Finalist - Firehouse Play Competition
Production and Development History
Tisch MFA thesis. Just readings since then.