A lady in the crowd
Beneath The Scarf
Written by: Anne Flores
MAYA SALIM: (Johanna) Age 14, teenager, Maya is a freshmen who spends her time reading and studying. She’s not your average girl with a trendy fashion sense, because an outfit on point doesn’t matter much to Maya. She proudly wears her hijab, puts on her glasses, and claims if she’s going to be a ‘nerd’ she might as well wear it like a badge.
Characteristics: Socially-awkward, loner, intelligent, shy, conservative.
MIKEY DAVIS: (Isaac Torres) Age 17, teenager, Mikey is a senior who’s your stereotypical all-star jock from the football team. Mikey has a racist attitude towards Muslims, therefore he continuously mocks Amaya’s culture.
Characteristics: Bully, cruel, inconsiderate, cynical, confident.
BRIANA PONCE: (Melissa Frausto) Age 16, teenager, Briana is a junior who’s the president of the fashion club. She’s quick to agree that the outlook of clothes decides the value of a person. Briana hates Maya, and she constantly makes fun of her appearance.
Characteristics: Bully, mean, sassy, manipulative, creative.
KELLY WATSON: (Luna De Anda & Arely Saldana) Age 16. teenager, Kelly is a junior. She’s a cheerleader, and Briana’s best friend. Kelly also experiences anger management, because she has never learned how to maintain control over her emotions.
Characteristics: Aggressive, disrespectful, outspoken, superficial, athletic.
JIMMY GREEN: (Ismael Arvizu) Age 14, teenager, Jimmy is a freshman, he’s Maya’s only friend. He tries his best to blend in among society. Jimmy comes from a christian background, and he’s deeply devoted to God.
Characteristics: Loner, shy, quiet, helpful, honest,
MR. WILLIAMS: (Arturo Macias) Age 43, middle-aged man, Psychology teacher from Golden Sierra High School. Mr Williams has been a teacher for over twenty years. He’s passionate towards understanding different cultural behaviors and the human mind.
Characteristics: Curious, sociable, fair-minded, calm, straightforward.
Time: September 12. 2001
SETTING: We’re in Golden Sierra High School, a small campus in San Antonio, Texas. The majority of the campus is populated with white Americans, hispanics, a few Asians every now and then there’s Maya Salim. The only muslim walking alone through a narrow hallway. She looks down and silently prays that no one will dare say any rude comments about her. Maya’s well aware that freshmen easily become dead meat for the upperclassmen. Yet it’s impossible to overlook Maya. She stands out like a sore thumb as her unique hijab flows like raised dust behind her.
BRIANA: (Shouts) Hey towelhead! Isn’t it a little hot to be wearing that?
KELLY: (Laughs) How could she wear that outside, don’t you find it disgusting?
MAYA: (Keeps walking)
BRIANA: Maya wait!
BRIANA: With everything going on, don’t you think it’s a bit rude of you to be wearing that ugly shit on your head?
MAYA: (Mumbles) J-just leave me alone.
KELLY: And what if we don’t? (Pauses) What are you gonna do about it?
MAYA: I said, just leave me alone.
KELLY: (Dramatic pauses) No. Can. Do.
BRIANA: Don’t you want to be part of team USA? See that? You look like a terrorist.
MAYA: Excuse me, I’m gonna be late to class and you guys are in my way.
BRIANA: I can see your hair through your scarf.
KELLY: (Yanks hijab off of Maya’s head).
MAYA: (Cries out) Give it back!
KELLY: (Tosses hijab to Briana)
BRIANA: (Throws it on the ground) Oops too late!
MAYA: (Cries out) Never, I’ve never done a single thing to neither of you!
BRIANA: Looks like our job is done, we should go now Kelly. We’re gonna be late to class.
MAYA AND KELLY: (Walks away)
MAYA: (Crying, picks up remains of her scarf)
Second Setting: Lunchtime in Golden Sierra High School. Once again, Maya is alone as she sits down on an old wooden bench.
MAYA: (Standing up. Line is said to the crowd) They look at me like I’m an alien, whispering mean comments to their friends, I hear them laughing at their racist jokes, they’re staring right at me, and I know it’s about me. We’re not so different, we both have eyes. We can clearly see that, like them, I’m a human being to. (Sits back down)
JIMMY: (concerned) Hey Maya.
JIMMY: (Sits down next to Maya) I heard about what Kelly did. Are you okay?
MAYA: No, I’m not okay. (Sighes) It hasn’t been my day and things are getting worse by the second.
JIMMY: But they don’t even know you.
MAYA: I know but that’s enough for them to hate me. They see me as an easy target.
MAYA: (Points at her head)
JIMMY: I guess to most people it’s easy to make fun of Muslims, but they’re just ignorant and don’t even know why you wear a hijab.
MAYA: Wearing it isn’t just about religion, it’s tradition, culture, and a sign of respect. Wearing it represents my individuality.
JIMMY: I don’t think you should ever stop being who you are because of people like Kelly and Briana. Don’t let them get to you, because if you stop wearing your scarf, then they’ll win.
MAYA: Aw, I guess you’re right. I’m not gonna let them win. Thanks for being here for me.
JIMMY: Anytime buddy, you know I got your back. (hugs Maya).
Setting: Last class of the day. Psychology with Mr. Williams for period six.
MR. WILLIAMS: Alright everyone, we have the results from last week's Unit 2 exam. I’m going to return them back to you, and the test must be signed by tomorrow.
MIKEY: What’s in the bag towel head?
MAYA: None of your business.
MIKEY: You have a bomb in there?
MAYA: (rolls eyes)
MIKEY: Everywhere you go you blow stuff up. You should get back on the camel and go back to wherever you came from (Class laughs)
MAYA: Real funny Mikey, but not all Muslims blow stuff up.
MIKEY: I don’t care. This is America, we’re at war with your people. All because of terrorist like you!
MAYA: Not all of us are terrorist. I was born here, so I’m an American citizen.
MIKEY: You’re no American. American’s aren’t brown skinheads, we don’t speak Arabic, and we aren’t freaks who wear towelheads because of their stupid ass religion. Face it Maya, (pauses) you’ll never be American.
MR. WILLIAMS: What was that Mikey?
MIKEY: (Turns around) Nothing sir.
MR WILLIAMS: Are you sure?
MIKEY: (mumbles) Yeah I’m sure Mr.Williams.
MR. WILLIAMS: Why are you lying? I heard the whole thing perfectly.
MIKEY: I’m entitled to my opinion, and I honestly think Muslims are psycho extremists who kill people.
MR. WILLIAMS: Shut your mouth Davis, you get out of my classroom at this instant! That stereotype doesn’t apply to all Muslims. My younger sister is a muslim but our parents didn’t allow her to wear the hijab, because they didn’t want her to get bullied.
MIKEY: I DON’T CARE! (Stomps out of the classroom)
MAYA: You’re Muslim?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes and listen up class. I’m really proud of how brave Maya Salim is. She’s an American, period. So she has a right to be herself and express her own culture. Isn’t that right Maya?
AMAYA: Yeah, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of you, because at the end of the day if you know what you’re doing is right, (pauses) then that’s all that matters.
(END OF PLAY)
P.S. This play was written on a dark late night. The clock read 3:38 AM. It was a miracle that my eyes were slightly open due to intoxication from a dose of black coffee. What inspired me to write this? Well the idea behind "Beneath the Scarf" was randomly chosen out of the dozens of brain-stormed story plots that I've written in my journal. The one sentenced idea read, "An non-Americanized girl bullied for being Islamic." Followed by a brief interview I did with my Arabic friend Amna Asiad. The purpose for the interview was nothing more besides my curiosity and Amna's willingness to answer my questions. All was rushed, edited, and turned in the last second. To my surprise my playwright was one of the lucky chosen ones, it received positive feedback, and here we are now producing something that was once a 7 worded idea.