Winner of the Mobil Prize for Playwriting, Ireland, 1995.
Is killing ever justified? This gripping drama examines the terrible choices of a teenage terrorist and a young mother in an exploration of contemporary morality.
On her way home from a traumatic weekend, Chris is seeking solace with her aunt near the Northern Irish border. Parking her car, Chris disturbs a terrorist hide-out in her aunt’s barn. As Chris is held captive through the night, it becomes apparent that her terrorist captor is not the only one with a dark secret…
Anne's most recent full length drama. Winner of the Mobil Prize for Irish playwrights in 1995.
Publisher: Chiswick Books
The stage is dark, misty. A circle of light comes up
on AUNT. She is in her own pool of light as in an old
photograph. Her place is stage front left. AUNT is on
stage for the whole play. We see, or half-see her, when she
is not in the action. She talks to her dog, Bono. Her face
is bathed in rosy light as the sun sets. She is looking at
a plant outside the door to her garden. A light comes up
on the curving plant. She is comfortable in herself. It is
Bono. I thought it had had it. Touch and go
though. It’s grown in such a beautiful curve over
that archway, and honeysuckles usually are no
trouble. No trouble at all. Then it didn’t flower
and the leaves went blackish. I kept on spraying
it with soap suds. Looked hopeless.
It was Chris
who told me about the soapy water treatment. To
spray the poor plant with buckets of it. Oh the
poor thing. Seemed so cruel. But hooray, Bono,
it’s done the trick. The lovely thing, all covered
with strong new leaves. Look, look, budding up
too. Lovely. Soon we will have flowers. This year
there will be flowers.
A red sky at night is the shepherd’s delight.
The sky was lovely and rosy but it’s changing
rapidly, that harsh yellow and those bluey black
clouds, a sure sign of rain. Not good, but we’ll
hope for good things.
Looks at her dog.
You’re right Bono, dinner time. There’s a good
girl, I’m hungry myself. Come on.
The light on plant fades so AUNT is now inside
and feeding the dog. The news is on the radio.
Opens a can of dog food.
Chris is coming tonight Bono. You’ll like that
Remind me to shut up the geese. Just you remind
me. That brindled fox must be rearing her young.
Saw her from the upstairs window. Never seen a
fox the size of her.
Bit worried about Chris, Bono, didn’t sound like
herself. She’s special to me, Bono, really special.
Bends to rub Bono.
Yes, yes, you’re a special girl, you’re my special
girl, of course you are. We’ll have a good long
talk with Chris when she comes, won’t we? Hot
whiskies by the fire and maybe she’ll stay two
nights. That would be good wouldn’t it? There
now, sit. Stay.
Puts down the food. Pause.
Go on now.
She watches Bono with satisfaction. Sits and
reads the paper, news still murmuring on. Reports
of terrorist activity, the border is mentioned.
OK girl, that’s it. All gone? Lovely grub! Good
girl. Off we go and shut up the geese.
Whistles a tune.
There’s rain in the air, Bono my girl, I can smell
it. The sunset was lying. I’m afraid I’m right, the
red is fading fast. The rain is there. The plants
will be happy. So what about it!
Light on her fades.
Fair daffodils we weep to see you haste away so
Fade to blackout. Sound of heavy rain in the
twilight. Then up slowly to light up as if a lamp
in the window is throwing its light on AUNT as
she looks out through the window downstage so
her face is very visible.
Now it comes. The soft rain, falling, falling.
Chris will be here in an hour or so. Sooner
maybe. She’s a good driver. Rain, rain, rain. At
least there’s no wind to damage the new leaves,
and no frost to burn them.
Light fades to blackout.
Lights up. A spot on CHRIS who is driving her car. We see
her head and shoulders and her hands on the wheel. Only
her face is clear. We hear the sound of the car engine and
Nearly there. Thank God. Made it. I’ve done it.
Bloody rain. Miserable. I’ve made it.
I’ve done it.
I’m here. Oh my God. Oh God. Why does it rain
like that on and on and on? As if it had never
rained in its life before. How do we survive this
on and on and on?
Pause. Sound only of windscreen wipers and car
I can’t wait to get there. I’ll put the car straight
in the barn. It’s nearly over.
It’s great to have Auntie. She’s a Godsend.
There’s the barn now. The same. Just the same.
Always has been a haven. This was our secret
place when we were little, Jimmy and I. I can
smell its smell. Our plans… what you believe as
children, so important at the time. And Charlie...
such a bully. How I hated him. Just a little wimp
now. How funny. It’s not at all funny, it’s awful.
Just need a few days. A bit of rest.
I’ll be alright. Maybe I can manage without
talking. Don’t feel that bad. Considering. Don’t
consider. All the considering has been done.
Finished. It’s over. Must let it be over.
There’s the light on in the kitchen. She’ll have
put on the electric blanket. Oh I’m so tired. A
warm bed, what could be sweeter? Wake up to the
sound of birds, and her noisy geese.
She won’t have heard me. She’s a bit deaf. Bono
may have heard, but he’s getting on too. Dogs
hear so much, know so much. I know so little.
The gift I need is wisdom. Understanding, fear of
Pause. The rain continues. Engine sound
Steady up. Quieten down. It’s all OK. Alright. I’ll
be alright. It’s more frightening at night crossing
the border. Those babies with guns. Frightening
themselves, and us. Lots of soldiers out tonight.
More than usual? What’s usual for God’s sake!
Car sounds fade, then cease. Wipers fade and
then this sound ceases as the lights fade to
blackout. Sound of heavy rain.