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2007 Suitcase

 Play Title 




25th May 2007


 Play Synopsis 

Suitcase was Yi-Wei Yao’s sixth published play.  Yao wrote it in 1973 after completing his research in the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program.  In almost every instance, the theatrical language of his first five plays included the singing or odes of poetic literature.  But Suitcase was different in that it was comprised completely of purely spoken language.  The theatrical action of  Suitcase: “The undying love Ah San(阿三) has for his chest results in his being chased and eventually killed”.  The play is made up of four scenes.  The first scene presents the two main characters of the play: Ah San and his partner.  Through their fairly aimless dialogue, the audience learns of their background and that the two are unemployed.  The second scene takes place in a noisy and crowded restaurant.  The newspapers and radio are all reporting on the disappearance of a suitcase which holds radium for use in medical therapy and that there is a 20,000 NTD reward for its return.  The people in the restaurant all mistake Ah San’s suitcase for the missing suitcase and begin to scuffle with Ah San and his partner.  This scene is used to foreshadow Ah San’s tragic fate in the future.  The third, and most important, scene takes place in an ancient temple.  The psychological background and childhood experiences of the two main characters are revealed as they are talking in their sleep.  Finally, they head to the wharf to hide out from the police and the people from the restaurant who are chasing them.  The fourth scene takes place in the abandoned ruins of the wharf’s lookout post.  The two main characters cannot escape the chasing horde.  To prove their innocence, Ah San’s partner tries to convince Ah San to open his suitcase while Ah San hysterically refuses.  As the two wrestle over the suitcase, Ah San and the suitcase both fall to the ground.  An inspector opens the suitcase to find old clothes, children’s toys, books, and a certificate.  At this point, they discover that Ah San, lying on the ground, has died.  This is the tragedy’s climax and dénouement.