© By Gary Mitchell
Brenda is under siege in her Belfast home. Daughter Jenny’s baby is crying upstairs, her mother-in-law is sleeping in the front room and husband is back after years away. And now the women of the Ulster defence Association want to hold meetings there as well.
GAIL. He’s not only a catholic but he’s a suspected IRA man.
HEATHER. Maybe that’s why you can’t get any Prods to go out
ADELE. I don’t want any Prods to go out with me.
GAIL. Hey, stay with me here.
ADELE. I’m trying to but she keeps interrupting.
HEATHER. She keeps being smart.
ADELE. Maybe that’s why I can get a nice catholic fella to
go out with me.
GAIL. From now on nobody else speaks but me.
HEATHER. Anybody can
get a catholic fella, they’re easy.
ADELE. You can’t.
GAIL. Shut up both of you. Only speak when spoken to by me.
HEATHER. It’s her.
ADELE. You can’t even get a dickhead Prod from this
HEATHER. Who’s talking now?
GAIL. Let me explain something here. I take this very
seriously but I’m getting the impression that I’m the only one, so let me tell
you what I’m going to do. The next person who interrupts me or disrespects me
in any shape or form is going to be very, very sorry. Am I clear here?
GAIL waits and nobody speaks.
We’ve established that this guy is your boyfriend and we’ve
been informed and are informing you again that he is a suspected IRA man. Do
you have anything to say before I continue?
ADELE. Can I speak now?
GAIL. Obviously when I ask you a question you can speak.
ADELE. OK. Know the way that you said that I wasn’t allowed
in their area because I was a protestant and then you said he wasn’t allowed in
our area because he was a catholic yeah?
GAIL. What’s your point?
ADELE. The point is that you are always saying we are better
than them, so how are we if we just do what they do?
GAIL. Fair point now let me explain it to you. You’re not
allowed in their area solely because you are a protestant. That’s the only
reason do you admit that?
ADELE. I don’t know I just don’t go in case there’s trouble.
GAIL. And why would there be trouble?
ADELE. Trouble can start for millions of reasons.
GAIL. Your parents don’t allow you to go up there. I know
this is true because your dad runs you everywhere, he even runs you to the shop
and that’s only a hundred yards away. The reason he doesn’t run you up The
Falls is because he knows like we know that The Falls is not safe for
ADELE. Same as Rathcoole isn’t safe for catholics.
GAIL. You’re wrong and if you’d let me finish you’d
ADELE. Go ahead.
GAIL. Catholics are not only allowed in Rathcoole but they
are actively encouraged to come here, to live here, to socialise here.
ADELE. Then how come my boyfriend is being threatened?
GAIL. Your boyfriend is at this moment in time a suspected
IRA man. That is why some of the men in the UDA are worried not only about him
coming here but also about him seeing you. Unlike The Falls where they would
rape you and kill you as soon as they found out you were from here. The men of
Rathcoole have not done that to him, in fact they’ve tried to help him. They
didn’t touch him. They didn’t intimidate him. They merely tried to protect him
by telling him he can’t come here while he is under suspicion of these offences
against our community.
ADELE. He’s not in the IRA.
GAIL. Once that is proven then he can come here as often as
ADELE. You can’t prove something like that.
GAIL. Of course you can.
ADELE. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?
GAIL. Listen to me. We have friends in the Police checking
him out. Now if it turns out that he is in the clear and as you claim he is not
a member of the IRA then we move to the second charge that he is getting
information for the IRA.
ADELE. I don’t know anything so how can he?
GAIL. Has he ever asked you questions about the UDA or
someone in the UDA?
GAIL. Are you sure?
ADELE. Positive, we’ve no interest in any of that shite.
GAIL. So he hasn’t said to you one time, what about that guy
or that guy is he in the UDA? Or he’s never asked you if you or your family are
in the UDA?
ADELE. I told you we don’t talk about things like that.
GAIL. That’s hard to believe.
ADELE. It’s the truth.
GAIL. If I was a catholic and I came into Rathcoole to go
with a girl the first thing I would want to know is - is any member of that
girl’s family or circle of friends in the UDA or the UVF or any protestant
organisation. What do you say Brenda?
BRENDA. It would make sense if the boy asked you just to
make sure for peace of mind.
ADELE. I want it on record that I didn’t go for the obvious
GAIL. What joke?
ADELE. About you being gay, when you said if you were going
with a girl.
GAIL. Are you disrespecting me?
ADELE. No, that’s my point. If I was disrespecting you I
would have gone for the joke.
Publisher: Nick Hern Books (2003)
ISBN-10: 1854597833, ISBN-13: 978-1854597830
Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, London, 5th November,2003
“His writing has the blazing conviction of lived experience combined with an unfashionable relish for strong plots. His best work has a stomach-churning intensity”