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A short, one act play, set in Dublin, Ireland about a young man who falls in love with a young woman who has been institutionalised into one of Ireland's Magdalene Asylums.


Submitted:Jan 21, 2014    Reads: 47    Comments: 2    Likes: 1   


ACT I

Scene 1

The kitchen of an Irish family bungalow. Along the centre of the back wall is a wide wooden framed window, in front sits a large iron kitchen range and at either side sits two, wooden framed rocking chairs. USL sits a large wooden larder with glass doors. To the right sits a wooden kitchen table. There is a door positioned DSR and another USR. It is the early hours of the morning on a summer's day in July of 1966. Through the window we can see that it is still dark outside, with a silver beam of light from the moon shining through the window. Patrick is seen wandering around the room, constantly looking at a clock positioned on the wall to his right, as the audience enter the auditorium. We can see from the clock on the wall that it is approximately 4am. Once the last audience member is seated Patrick sits down on the rocking chair positioned USL and lights a cigarette. A few moments pass until we can hear light footsteps approaching on the gravel outside. Slowly the DSR door opens and Vincent creeps through the door and moves towards the door USR without noticing Patrick's presence.

Patrick coughs.

Vincent stops abruptly, startled and gasps clutching a tweed flat cap against his chest.

VINCENT:

Jesus Da, I didn't see ye' there! I was, eh I was just out feeding the chickens.

PATRICK:

At 2 in the morning in your best clothes?

VINCENT:

It was cold out.

PATRICK:

(Shouts)

DO NOT lie to me boy! You went to see her again didn't you?

(Silence)

Answer me!

VINCENT:

(Barely audible)

Yes.

PATRICK:

What did your mother and I tell you about going anywhere near that girl again?

VINCENT:

But Da, you need to see what they're doing to here in there! Her face is battered, she's covered in bruise-

PATRICK:

Well she didn't get them for no reason, I'm sure she deserved them! It wouldn't surprise me if she did it to herself!

VINCENT:

Because she wet the bed! She's that fucking scared of them she wet her bed! Tell me how it's ok for someone to be that scared of people? She's a grown woman do you know how embarrassed she must be? She lay in her own piss for a full night because God knows what would have happened her if she woke them from their sleep! And when she told them at breakfast the next morning do you know what they did? They laughed at her! They stood up in front of everyone and made the rest of the girls laugh at her too! Then they took her and beat her, told her that only children and animals soiled themselves! Said she was no better than a filthy pig! They made grunting noises when they were canning her! They're the fucking animals Da! They are! Not her!

Patrick grabs Vincent by the throat and pushes him up against the stove.

PATRICK:

Do not talk about the Sisters like that in my house ever again you hear me? They are women of God and they would never do a thing like that to anyone, regardless of their sins! Those girls are in those laundries to correct and be forgiven for their sins and the sisters are there to help them, not to hurt them!

VINCENT:

They're there as slaves! Jesus the slaves were probably treated better!

PATRICK:

What did I tell you boy? Do you know what would happen to you if the sisters find out that you've been sneaking in there?! It'll not only be her that gets in trouble but if you're caught then you'll get done for breaking and entering! They'll make sure you get in as much trouble as she does! You'd never see her again!

VINCENT:

That won't happen though Da! I'm going to get her out of there, I love her too much to let her stay in there any longer!

PATRICK:

Aye and if what you're telling me is true then they'll kill her if they ever catch wind of this! Think about how stupid this whole situation is, you're risking your life for this girl! This isn't love, you barely know the girl now get this silly notion out of your head. You're only going to end up upsetting the girl when you come to your senses. Christ knows what she'll do to herself then! And your mother, Jesus think of what this would do to her, she could never show her face in this town again! You'll bring the family name to shame for meddling with that girl!

VINCENT:

I'm not meddling with her, I'm serious Da, I love her! I'm...

(Pause)

I'm going to get her out of there and then I'm going to ask her to marry me.

PATRICK:

Over my dead body are you going anywhere near her again! You are not to leave this house again without me or your mother by your side! And you will listen to me this time son because so help me God I will break your two legs and you will never step out through the doors of this house again. Do you understand that?

Vincent walks towards the larder and takes a small leather suitcase from beside it then moves back to centre stage.

What the fuck are you doing with that?

VINCENT:

I told you I was leavin' I'm going to get Christina and then we're going to get out of here, get as far away as possible.

Patrick laughs in disbelief.

PATRICK:

And where are you going to go? You'll not get very far, as soon as the Sisters realise she's gone they'll have every policeman in the country looking for you.

VINCENT:

We'll go to England, anywhere as long as we're away from here. They'll not be able to get us there anyway.

Patrick shakes his head in disbelief, sighs then wanders around the room in silence.

PATRICK:

(Defeated)

With what money?

VINCENT:

I've been saving any money that I've been getting from working on the farm for the past year now.

PATRICK:

(Through gritted teeth)

Are you meaning to tell me that this has been going on under my nose for over a year?

VINCENT:

(Quietly)

A year and three months.

Patrick sighs followed by a brief silence.

PATRICK:

You're really serious about this girl aren't you son?

VINCENT:

Of course I am Da! I wouldn't take such a huge risk for just anyone. I know what this is going to cost me, I know I'll never be able to see you or Ma again. I know you don't believe me but the things the sisters do to those girls in the laundries are disgusting, you wouldn't wish it on your own enemy, I'm serious.

PATRICK:

(With his back to Vincent, quietly)

I don't want to hear it, if what you're saying is true I don't want any part of it! I don't even want to know about it!

Vincent nods his head, the two men stand in silence, unable to look each other in the eye, eventually Vincent speaks in a low, hushed voice.

VINCENT:

Right Da, I need to go now, Tina's waiting on me at the gate. Are you going to let me go or what's happening?

PATRICK:

You know if you walk out of here and your mother wakes in the morning without you here, you can't come back?

(Vincent nods.)

Are you sure you want that? When your mother finds out she'll never forgive you.

VINCENT:

I know but I couldn't live with myself if I left Tina in that place. They'll end up killing her, she's so frail, her body couldn't handle any more of those beatings. Her mind can't take much more of the taunting. She has no one else, I have to get her out of there Da, I have to.

PATRICK:

Well, why don't you get her out then come back to us? You don't have to leave with her, no one will know you had anything to do with it! That way everyone wins.

VINCENT:

Are ye serious? Da she's been in there since she was fourteen years old, she couldn't survive alone, she barely knows how to look after herself. She doesn't have any money. She really needs me.

PATRICK:

Sure I'll give her money! How much have you saved? I'll double it! Triple it even! Anything to make you stay son.

VINCENT:

You may give it up! I'm sorry but my minds made up I told Tina I'd be there in 5 minutes I really need to go now.

Patrick grabs Vincent by the shoulders and pleads.

PATRICK:

I don't think you realise how much your mother and I need you, this will break her heart. She'll never look at anyone in the town again.

VINCENT:

You can tell them that I went away to work, say the offer came last minute and it was too good to turn down and I just had to go and that I didn't have the time to say bye to anyone.

PATRICK:

But then everyone will ask questions, questions we won't be able to answer.

VINCENT:

For Christ's sake Da! You and ma can think of the answers between yourselves, I don't have the time for this!

PATRICK:

And what do you expect me to tell her?

VINCENT:

So don't tell her then, she doesn't have to know this conversation ever happened. You can wake up in the morning and pretend that you knew nothing about it. Look i'll write a letter, I'll write it as if you knew nothing about it.

Vincent scurries to the larder and pulls out a piece of paper and a pencil. Quickly he scribbles down words on the paper and hands it to his father once he is done.

PATRICK:

Dear Mother and Father, this will be the last you hear of me. I have found love, a love of which would never receive your approval, so I am leaving to be with her. I'm already sure that you will not try to find me when you learn of who she is, and trust me you will hear. I have packed my things and have taken them with me. You will be glad to know that no one else knows about these plans, so you can tell the neighbours whatever you wish about my whereabouts. I'm sorry and I will love you both always. Your loving Son, Vincent.

Patrick folds the letter and puts it in his pocket.

That'll do, I'll leave it on the table for your mother to find in the morning.

VINCENT:

Right then, I really need to be on my way now, she'll be waiting and you know how they get when you keep them waiting.

Vincent chuckles, followed by a brief silence in which Vincent moves to pick up his suitcase. He slowly picks it up then moves towards the door DSR where he stops.

Thank you for allowing me to do this, it means a lot to me. Make sure Ma knows I love her too.

Patrick nods

Goodbye Da.

Vincent leaves through the door without looking back. Patrick stands still, centre stage, clutching the letter as we hear Vincent's footsteps on the gravel moving away from the house. As soon as we hear the last step, lights fade until blackout.

[SCENE]

ACT I

Scene 2

It is now sunrise, the stage is dimly lit with the light of the sun shining through the kitchen window. Nothing has changed since the previous scene. Patrick is seated in the same seat as before smoking a cigarette with one hand and clutching a letter in the other, the clock on the wall now reads approximately 5:30am. This time however, Patrick is ignoring it and fixes his glance on the letter. Again we hear light footsteps on the gravel outside and Vincent opens the door and enters with a blank expression on his face. He walks centre stage and drops the leather suitcase to his feet without saying a word. Patrick looks at him with an expression of disbelief before a huge smile spreads across his face. He rises from the chair and hugs Vincent who does not respond.

PATRICK:

You came back! I knew you wouldn't leave us Son! I knew you couldn't walk away from this family!

Vincent still remains unresponsive and Patrick takes him by the shoulders and examines his son's face.

What's wrong son? You haven't said a word, you look like you've seen a ghost.

VINCENT:

(Barely audible)

She wasn't there.

PATRICK:

Speak up I can't hear ye'

VINCENT:

(Through gritted teeth)

She wasn't there.

PATRICK:

I knew it! I told you, you couldn't trust girls like her! The little whor-

VINCENT:

She wasn't there because she's dead Da.

PATRICK:

What? Ye can't be serious? How do ye know that? Just because she wasn't there doesn't mean she's dead-

VINCENT:

No she wasn't there but one of her friends was, she told me..

(Pause as Vincent's voice breaks as tears start to fall down his face)

She told me that Sister Patricia caught her coming back in from meeting me earlier, she said she dragged her by the hair into her office. No one seen her come back out again. They told her family that she fell down the stairs and hit her head.

PATRICK:

Son-

VINCENT:

They killed her Da! They took her into that office and they beat her to death!

(Hysterical)

It's my fault! It's all my fault Da!

Patrick wraps his arms around Vincent who begins sobbing uncontrollably, he looks around the room bewildered. We hear a gentle whimper from Vincent.

VINCENT:

Tina.

[SCENE]






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