As the Beast Sleeps
© By Gary Mitchell
Kyle is loyal to his wife, his best mate and his boss in the Ulster defence Association – and they love him as a husband, a brother and a son – but with changing times and the emerging peace process, Kyle finds himself in the shadows of transition, uncertainty and betrayal.
JACK indicates that NORMAN is to stay out of this conversation. NORMAN takes up a position at the Door.
LARRY. We’re changing, Kyle. We’re progressing.
KYLE. Who’s we?
LARRY. Us. (KYLE shakes his head.) You don’t think so?
JACK. But you don’t know what everybody else thinks.
KYLE. I know what I think. I haven’t changed.
LARRY. Maybe that’s the problem.
KYLE. I don’t want to change.
JACK. We all have to change, Kyle. Just like we all have to get older. It’s natural.
LARRY. Kyle, whether you like it or not, things have changed. Whether I like it or not, things will never be the same again. Do you see what I’m saying?
KYLE. Are you going to back him up then?
LARRY. I don’t know what you mean.
KYLE. Who’s making all these decisions?
LARRY. The Command makes the decisions.
KYLE. When did the Command start getting involved in clubs?
LARRY (confused). What are you talking about?
KYLE. It’s not that long ago me and my team were driving up that road out there with a truck full of beer and cigarettes. I don’t remember anyone trying to stop us coming in then.
LARRY. Norman’s only just started this new job, he was a bit over enthusiastic.
NORMAN. I just do what I’m told.
KYLE. What are we now -just shit like? Everything that we’ve done just doesn’t count for shit any more. Is that the way it’s going to be?
JACK. You’ve always been well looked after. Or you wouldn’t ‘t have kept on doing things.
KYLE. I’m not talking to you.
LARRY. The way things are going to be Kyle is really up to yourself.
KYLE. How is it?
LARRY. Nothing’s been set in stone. Everything is still up for grabs, do you know what I mean? You can either come on board or state your case. That’s what I’m here for - to listen to you and to check that we’re doing the right thing.
KYLE. Well you’re not doing the right thing.
LARRY. In what way exactly?
KYLE. What you’re doing with us is wrong.
JACK. When you do things right, you get rewarded. When you do things wrong therefore, it stands to reason that you have to be punished.
KYLE. If you interrupt me once more when I’m talking I’ll go over that table and punish your face.
NORMAN. Do you want me to throw him out for threatening behaviour?
JACK. Does he have to do that, Kyle?
KYLE. If I was you I’d go and get my friends, Norman. ‘Cause if I don’t get a result here there’s going to be threatening behaviour all over these floors.
LARRY. Settle down, Kyle. Take it easy.
JACK. You see, Larry. This is the problem.
Commissioned Abbey Theatre, Dublin for Peacock Theatre 1998
BBC NI Adaptation 2002
Publisher: Nick Hern Books (2001)
ISBN-10: 1854596519 , ISBN-13: 978-1854596512
Peacock Theatre, June 10, 1998
Abbey Theatre, Dublin 1998; director Conall Morrison.
Tricycle Theatre, London 2001; director John Sheehan.
Adapted for BBC2 in 2002, director Harry Bradbeer.
“Packaged as a thriller and laced with dark humour… it’s compulsory viewing”