FLAMES OF FREEDOM
The new stage play by John Waller
CAST OF CHARACTERS (in order of appearance)
1. ROBBIE CASEMOND – a 10-year-old, inquisitive young adventurer
2. CONN O’TOOLE – a 19-year old gardener
3. MRS MARY MURPHY – an elderly cook
4. MARTIN MCCARTHY – 30-year-old headman at neighbouring Ardmore Castle
5. MELISSA ‘MELI’ CASEMOND – a 35-year-old English Rose, mother to Robbie
6. CAPTAIN ALEC CASEMOND – a 36-year-old soldier, her husband. Owner of Maltings. Very keen sportsman, “one of Ireland’s three greatest yachtsmen”
7. RIC COLONEL SMYTH – an upper class, spiteful, English officer (only in 1.5)
8. RIC OFFICER (only in 1.5)
9. THE TANS (2.4 only)
10. BARMAN (2.5)
Act One sets the scene for the arrival of the Black and Tans:
Scene 1: The potting shed/library of a Victorian house in rural Ireland – April 1920
Robbie tells Con about his father in Egypt, part of the British Empire; Martin wants Con to join the Volunteers; Meli gives Martin his first ‘lesson’ on Cathleen Ni Houlihan.
Scene 2: The kitchen of the house/garden – next morning
Alec arrives and explains that for the Irish to get their freedom, the Arabs, the Kurds and the Indians would have to be given theirs.
Scene 3: On the bank of a lake – Mid June, 1920
Robbie and Con talk about the fight for freedom; Martin tells Con the plan to burn down the barracks.
Scene 4: The potting shed of the house – early morning, two days later
Robbie questions Con about the fire and tells him he is taking food to an injured man he found in a cavern; Con tells Martin he will take the food; Meli gives Martin his second ‘lesson’.
Scene 5: Royal Irish Constabulary HQ, Listowel, Co. Kerry – June 17th 1920
The RIC Colonel explains the fight against Sinn Féin and the arrival of the Tans.
Act Two sees the Tans gate crash the New Year’s party and, after an ambush by the Volunteers when Martin is injured and the leader of the Tans is killed, they return to torch it.
Scene 1: The kitchen of the house – New Year’s Eve 1920 10.30pm
Guests are enjoying a New Year’s party at the Big House and the Tans arrive. Con cycles down to the village to warn the Volunteers.
Scene 2: The potting shed of the house – New Year’s Day, evening
Martin has been badly injured in the ambush of the Tans by the Volunteers. Meli arrives to tell him the leader of the Tans was killed in the ambush and makes plans to move him to the Big House and then take him to Dublin. Martin is grateful to Meli for saving his life.
Scene 3: The potting shed of the house – January 2nd 1921, late evening
Robbie meets Con, who has been held prisoner and tortured by the Tans, but claims to have escaped. Robbie goes into the house to get Con a blanket and some food.
Scene 4: The kitchen of the house/library – a few moments later
The Tans have followed Con and confront Mrs Murphy. They set fire to Big House. Con enters to save Robbie, who has been hiding. Alec returns and goes through the flames to save Con.
Scene 5: A bar in Boston – 1932
Martin, Conn and Robbie meet up in a Bar in Boston at the time of the Economic War between Britain and Ireland. A violent argument follows, but peace is made.