Shows S

did in the exam himself. Back at the house Somsri, Rachanee and Dawan are preparing the dinner for Vichai's family. Somsri is still adamant that Dawan is wasting her time dreaming about going to the city school despite Rachanee's attempts to get her to change her mind. Finally Somsri tells Dawan another reason why she shouldn't go. Somchai and Somsri, when they were first married, had gone to the city to earn enough to build their house. Having been there herself Somsri believes that a city is no place for a girl. Kwai is sitting on the bridge, still trying to come to terms with what has happened. Dawan arrives and they talk for the first time since the announcement of the result. Kwai is still very bitter and tells Dawan that he has found out from the teacher that he came second. Dawan is very thrown by the implications of this. However she tells him that although she didn't ever think she would win, she now wants to make the most of her opportunity. It is the first time they have ever fallen out but neither of them will accept the other's view. That evening Vichai and his family arrive for dinner. It is disastrous. Vichai's parents are extremely smug about their wealth and Vichai reveals himself to be a very spoilt young man. During the meal Somsri comes to see what Dawan's life will be like if she does stay in the village and settle down with Vichai. At the end of the evening, Kwai, goaded on by Vichai, tells Somchai that he came second in the exam. Somchai is thrilled. Oblivious to what is happening around him he declares that now Dawan can be married and Kwai can take her place at the city school. Dawan, distraught at all that has happened, runs out of the house. She cannot believe what is happening to her. Finally Somsri finds Dawan and suggests that if she wants someone to help her persuade Somchai to let her go, she could go and see the Abbot. Act Two The village market place. Again it is early morning and the market is beginning to come to life. Bao, Vichai's sister, works at a stall selling Lotus flowers and freeing birds from their cages to earn her customers merit. Dawan arrives and meets Bao, who immediately congratulates Dawan on her success. The other market girls join in the celebrations until Dawan tells them that her father won't let her go to the city school. They are shaken by the news as Dawan's success has given them all hope for their own futures. However, Dawan tells them she has one last chance. She is going to see the Abbot to see if he will talk to her father. As she goes they wish her well and give her all she needs to visit the temple. The Abbot is very kind to Dawan, but after hearing all she has to say, he tells her that he cannot help her - not because she is a girl, but because he doesn't believe that anyone should go to the city school. Dawan is devastated. Her last hope has gone. However, when Bao and the other market girls see her they succeed in making her see that she has to carry on fighting. Just like the birds in Bao's cages, she cannot be locked up forever. Dawan begins to feel a lot more determined and to celebrate she lets a bird go free. Vichai sees this and reprimands Bao for not charging Dawan any money. In the ensuing argument Dawan lets it slip that she has been to see the Abbot. Vichai is furious, feeling she is not only being arrogant by thinking she can go to the city, but also that she is turning her back on him. Bao speaks up for Dawan and Vichai hits her. Kwai arrives and restrains Vichai. Vichai leaves threatening to tell Dawan's father that she has gone behind his back by going to see the Abbot. Bao then turns on Kwai, telling him that by trying to stop Dawan from taking her opportunity, he is no better than Vichai. In his desperation Kwai goes to hit Bao but Dawan stands in the way and in the confusion Kwai pushes Dawan onto the bird cages. She is cut badly but she is hurt more by his actions than by her injury. It begins to rain. Bao bandages Dawan's leg and gives her an umbrella. Dawan limps home. Back at home Somchai tells Somsri and Rachanee that Vichai has told him how Dawan went to see the Abbot. He is livid. Somsri admits that it was her idea and Somchai is amazed. Somsri explains that she now believes Dawan should be allowed to take her chance but Somchai refuses to listen. Somsri tries to persuade him that Dawan is growing up and that they can't hold on to her forever. Kwai is sitting on the bridge, still very shocked at what he has done to Dawan. Dawan arrives and they begin to talk. Kwai doesn't know what to do. He is torn between his own future and his love for his sister. She leaves him to think it over, giving him the umbrella as she goes. Kwai, moved by her gesture, thinks about all that has happened.

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