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Sister Outlaw, a play by Lani T. Montreal
Sister Outlaw by Lani T. Montreal

A Pintig Cultural Group Production
Premiere performance
December 15-22, 2001
Preston Bradley Center
Women in the Director's Chair
941 W. Lawrence
Chicago, IL

Directed by Louie Pascasio
Original Music by Narciso Lobo

Marina - Mary Ann de la Cruz
Joey - Lovien "Joey" Flores
Jason - Louie Sison
Carrie - Gabby Lingat
Waiter/Concierge - Cesar Conde


, a new immigrant to the U.S. She is a soft butch lesbian born and raised in the Philippines. Her single mother left her to work in the U.S. in the care of her grandparents when she was just two. The mom remarried an American man and petitioned Joey to the U.S. Joey is not out to her family. She has always been an introvert. She has always loved her best friend Marina but never found the courage to tell her. She can be pretty anal about certain things—like dating friends.

. She came to the U.S. as a tourist but decided to stay when she realized she can work illegally here, and send money home to her family. Joey invited her to come to the U.S. and try it out here. Marina accepted the invitation only too willingly because she too is secretly in love with her best friend. Marina is an outspoken feminist lesbian. She can be intense sometimes and will not take shit from anyone.

. Jason has a pretty easy-going attitude about life. He grew up in a privileged environment, and did not leave home to be on his own until he was 20. He has a charming personality, but is not all that smart.

. Carrie is the kind of person who knows what she wants and will take risks to get it. She is a proud transsexual, who has homespun wisdom her friends can always rely on. She is caring but can be cold if she needs to be.

. Stereotypical sweet but at times overbearing mother. She has an idea of her daughter’s sexuality but acts clueless about it. (Must be played by the actor who played Carrie)

(can be played by the actor who plays Carrie)

SCENE 1 The I-94 is not just an expressway

Setting: Joey’s studio apartment in Chicago. Evening. Joey and Marina are in bed. Lights are out. There is a video projection on the wall of a typhoon in the Philippines, trees swaying violently. Sound of typhoon, strong winds, rains.

No, please, I need to… go back… No, please… let me go back… pleaseeee…

Light slowly fills the stage. We see a futon bed. Two side tables on opposite sides of bed, each with a lamp light on top. Small dresser on downstage right. The couple is sleeping on opposite sides of the bed leaving a big gap in between. Marina is moaning as if having a nightmare. She wakes up and sits, seemingly out-of-breath. Joey, sleeping on the other end of the bed is awakened as well. She turns on lamplight on her side of bed. Joey starts rubbing her back.

What—what’s wrong? Are you okay, Marina? Do you want me to get some water?

It’s the same kind of dream, Joey.

Joey stands and goes to get water. She gives it to Marina.

You were back home?

Yeah, but different again… It wasn’t a mudslide.

What is it this time?

It was a typhoon… and the streets were flooded… and you were there…


You were getting swept away by the strong flood current… swept away to Chicago…


Yeah, you know one those time-warped dreams where a jeepney ride takes you from one end of the world to the other… You came to visit me, but it started raining. And then the rains got meaner… you know, like Typhoon Miling… remember that? You were still there, di ba?

I’ve lived there all my life and it’s been okay. I mean, we didn’t always have enough money but we were happy, you know.

Oh, God yeah… poor fisherfolk… dead… Bodies were washing up the shore for days… We had a church service in school… I remember...

In my dream I wanted to go back you know… to Chicago… but I couldn’t… I was counting my money and I didn’t have enough for the fare…

For the jeepney?

No, at the airport… so it felt more real… but I don’t understand why.

Why what?

Why I wanted to come back, here… Why it should be so nightmarish in Manila. I’ve lived there all my life and it’s been okay. I mean, we didn’t always have enough money but we were happy, you know.

Joey turns off her lamplight and starts to turn her back

So do you want to go back? (tries to sound detached)

You know I can’t just yet… My sister Zeny is counting on me to send money for her kids. I don’t mind… as long as she doesn’t go back to that asshole… (remembers something suddenly) Shit! what’s the date today?

I don’t know… the 14th… I think… yeah… we’re getting paid on Monday!

Marina gets out of the bed and goes to dresser and opens a drawer. She takes out her passport and opens it. A little card falls out – her I-94. She picks it up.

This is probably why I’m having those dreams….

What do you mean?

My visa is expiring in less than two weeks… I thought I had more time, you know… I thought two more months… Shit… Why wasn’t I thinking?

Joey is worried as well. She sits up and turns on her lamplight.

How can you not remember?

Well, I don’t know…maybe wishful thinking… it’s my plane ticket, you know… it expires in two weeks and that’s the date they gave me… it’s my second renewal and I don’t know if I should risk applying again…

What are you going to do now?

I don’t know… Maybe I’ll ask my boss to petition me…

But I’m scared, you know. What if I get caught? If I get deported I’ll never be able to come back...

Like he would… You didn’t even study cooking in the Philippines. You just happen to know how… They’ll just get a new person who they can teach… anyone who can make a decent adobo can work at that place…

There’s this guy who said he’d make me some fake papers for $5,000…

Gosh, that’s a lot of money…

He says I can pay for it on installment… But I’m scared, you know. What if I get caught? If I get deported I’ll never be able to come back...

Well, I’ll talk to some people I know who might have a better job prospect for you… I’m gonna see my uncle tomorrow at my stepdad’s birthday party. You know, the one who has a travel agency, maybe he can petition you… What did you major in again?

Mass Communication…

Oh yeah, (lamely) right… you could have taken accounting at least... oh, well, why don’t we just worry about it tomorrow?

Bahala na...

Bahala na... the Goddess will provide... Goodnight, Marina.

Joey turns off light and starts to lie down. She turns her back on Marina. Marina reaches out to touch Joey on the shoulder but hesitates. She turns off her light.

Goodnight, Joey… Salamat…

For what?

For being a good friend…

Don’t worry about it.


SCENE 2 Let’s make a deal

Joey’s parents’ house. There’s a nice sofa and side table, on top of which a telephone sits. Dim light. Voice-overs of people overlapping with kid's laughter, plates and glasses clinking. It is the sound of a barbecue in the suburb.

Joy, anak, why won’t you grow your hair? It’s so short… it’s not lady-like…

When are we going to meet your boyfriend?

Are you a boy or a girl?

Lights up. Joey goes inside house as if escaping from something. She closes door behind her.

I keep forgetting why I don’t like attending family gatherings.

She sees telephone, sits by couch and dials.

I hit somebody’s car and I don’t think the insurance is gonna pay for it because they’ll say it’s my fault.

Hey, Oscar... It’s (she covers the mouth) Joey... Yeah...I’m doin’ okay, how about you? I know... over a month now... Well, you know I’m not much into the bars anymore... Who did you see at Roscoe’s? Oh, her... No... (whispers) We’re not seeing each other anymore... Well, I need to talk to you about Marina... No... What? Are you crazy? She’s my friend! Hindi talo, pare... that’s not right... Oh, you and her have been hanging out? You saw her at Mabuhay Restaurant? Oh, I didn’t know that... Anyway... didn’t you say you needed a nail-technician? Can you teach her that? Can you petition her for that? I know, I know, it’s a long shot... What about... what about if you marry her? What? I didn’t know that... I mean I know you’ve been taking those hormones. But I didn’t know you wanted those? Wish I could just give you mine... What? A Double C? No, I don’t think so... I’m pretty sure there’s still a difference. No, Oscar. I don’t date friends... and I don’t date trans ... I’m a (looks around and covers receiver) I’m a dyke, remember? I know you’re just kidding... well, we ought to get together soon, okay? I won’t fall in love with you, Oscar. What? Okay, fine, I’ll call you Carrie.

She hangs up and tries another number. Jason comes into the room, looking frazzled.

Hey, sis… are you gonna take long on the phone? I really need to use it… Shit… I really screwed it up this time...

Hey, what’s the matter bro...

I hit somebody’s car and I don’t think the insurance is gonna pay for it because they’ll say it’s my fault. It wasn’t really... the guy in front of me just stopped in the middle of the road and I didn’t have enough time to hit the brakes... So wham.. I hit his back bumper... My car was more damaged than the other guy’s. He’s got an SUV... Shit... what am I gonna tell Dad?

Well, I’m, glad you’re still in one piece… but… you wrecked your Dad’s beamer? Well, hasn’t he seen it yet?

Well, I told him I was having it tuned up for his birthday...

Joey’s face lights up.

Well, where is the car?

The shop... That’s why I need to call Henry. He owes me some money, I gotta force it out of him...

Isn’t Uncle Paul gonna look for it?

He’s got the Jeep... remember? The one he got last Christmas? He was really going to give this one to me...

You wish... How much do you have to pay?

About two to three gran... it could be more, the guy at the shop said. Maybe you can lend me some cash, Sis...

How are you gonna pay it back? You’re not even getting paid enough at the Gorilla gym to get your own car.

They’re giving me more hours, Ate. I can pay you back in six months maybe...

Hmmm... maybe my friend can help you out...

The president running it like a stupid million dollar action movie. Thousands of people leave
everyday just to find jobs
abroad, you know....

Which friend?

You know, my roommate Marina…

Have I met her?

I’m not sure if you had…

How can she help me?

Well, see, she has a tourist visa but she’s been working here illegally…. (tries to find words) Anyway, she’s been here almost a year and she has to go soon.

Uhmm. I’m listenin’.

Well, I… I mean she doesn’t want to go back there anymore.

Why not?

Well, you know—it’s hard to find decent jobs there. The economy being the way it is. The president running it like a stupid million dollar action movie. Thousands of people leave everyday just to find jobs abroad, you know....

Oh yeah?

And the weather. God, it can kill you. You’ve been there, don’t you remember? You almost died of a heatstroke.

Really? I don’t remember.

Well, I do... I remember when Mom and Uncle Paul took you there for a visit. You were such a cute tiny tot... and everybody wanted to touch you—that little white boy who spoke english with an american accent. You were like the goose that lay golden eggs.

I was four or five I think... But, Ate, if it’s so bad there, how come Mom had to force you to come here? You waited until the last minute, the year you were turning 21.

(Defensive) I wanted to finish school first, you know. Besides I had all my friends there. It would be just like you being torn from your roots here...

Ow? Well, I think I know where this conversation is going and Sis, my answer is No.

Jason starts dialing his friend’s number on phone.

You know, for many people there, life is really difficult… It’s working in factories under oppressive conditions... Even if you finished college, your education is not even worth 100 pesos if you don’t know people in high places…

100 pesos? (Jason puts down phone again)

Are you insane? Do I look like I want to get hitched? I don’t care if she’s Jennifer Lopez or Catherine Zeta-Jones.

—that’s not even three bucks. Can you imagine working like a dog for three bucks a day? Where do you think your Nike cross-trainers and GAP boxer shorts are made from? In sweatshops in the Philippines… where Marina told me the workers are not even allowed to form unions… So... So... can you help her? Then, you don’t have to worry about paying for the repair of your dad’s car....

I knew it and the answer is still NO! I can’t and I will not marry her... Are you insane? Do I look like I want to get hitched? I don’t care if she’s Jennifer Lopez or Catherine Zeta-Jones.

But you can divorce her in two years.

Ate, if you haven’t noticed, I’m somewhat in the prime of my youth now. Women are falling at my feet. I can’t get married. That’s going to totally cramp my style!! Henry owes me $500... I just need to scrounge up $1,500 or more....

Jason gets phone again.

But don’t you know that women find that attractive in a man? (Tries to sell this idea)

You’re kidding me, aren’t you?

Am not... Women always like men they can’t have.

Yeah, right. (Unsure. He puts down receiver.)

Oh yeah. And when you’re married, women can’t force you to marry them so you can have as many as you want.

I guess you have a point there. Not that I’m having a problem attracting the girls... But it’s true, if they want me they can still have me... but the ring’s gonna tell them.

The ring is gonna tell them... No can do... we can play but we can’t get too serious... and if they want to get more serious, hell, that’s gonna make it more romantic and exciting for them... the thought that you’re cheating your wife for this or that girl....

Jason contemplates this thought.

That’s true...

(Feeling triumphant) So true.... So, do we have a deal?

Wait a minute... I heard that the going rate for green card marriages is $15,000 these days... the car is just $2,000, three at the most...

Come on, bro.... it’s your sister here asking you for a favor... and Marina’s been my close friend for more than 10 years!

I know... but what’s fair is fair... how about just adding a little more?

Okay, how much?

Half of my rent for the next two years. She’s gonna have to pretend that she lives at my apartment, anyway... (thinks for a moment) You know what? She can even stay there with me if she needs a place... as long as, of course, she does her wifely duties...like, maybe do my laundry or cook... She doesn’t have to sleep with me, Ate... unless she wants to... But she better not nag me when I come home late at night...

This is getting out of hand.

What are you talking about... that’s not even $5,000.00... Besides you're not the one who's going to exchange vows with a total stranger... What if she turns out to be a psycho?

Sobra ka naman... She's not a psycho... But, okay maybe one year she can pay half your rent. But I don’t think she’ll wanna stay with you...

Wanna bet? This hunk has not yet failed, Sis. (Starts grooming himself) One-half rent for one year… and six months!!!

Okay, okay... No more...

Okay.... Deal!! Now I have to meet her... I hope she doesn’t look like—what do you call a nightmare in Tagalog Ate?


Stage blackout. Jason and Joey exits.

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