This is a scene from my play NO BLACKS ,NO DOGS, NO POLES. The full script can be purchased on Amazon.

No Blacks, No Dogs, No Poles Brendan Behan's Women: Two Irish plays by [Tom O'Brien]

NO BLACKS, NO DOGS, NO POLES was first performed at Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead, London NW3 6TE on 13th May2014. It was produced by Leonie Scott-Matthews and directed by Jesse Cooper.



Tom O’Brien


JIMMY………swarthy, dark complexion, 30yrs                   

CON…………..Irish, a bull of a man, mid 50’s                       

MARION……poised, slightly matronly, mid 50’s                

JJ……………….Anglo-Irish, well groomed, late 40’s                          

MICHAEL….athletic, interesting, 30yrs                              

CATHY………aborigine, 30yrs approx.                                 


Length………..90mins approx.


The dysfunctional Kennedy clan are having a re-union. There’s the father, Con, a successful building contractor in London who has had to relocate back in Ireland because of tax irregularities in the UK.  Con is secretly bisexual, although not-so-secret from his wife, Marion, who has known it all along and kept quiet about it. His estranged son, Michael, turns up after five years in Australia with Cathy, his new aborigine wife.  To say his parents are surprised would be putting it mildly. His nephew, Jimmy, also turns up and it is soon apparent that his racist, bigoted views haven’t mellowed any as he has got older. We learn that he is there at Con’s invitation; his real reason being to spy on Marion, who Con suspects of having an affair. Jimmy also has his own agenda, selling crack/cocaine to the local drug users – a plan which backfires when the drugs, which he has buried in the back garden, are discovered by Michael, heightening the already tense atmosphere in the house. Add in JJ, construction manager for Con, whose attraction to Marion must be obvious to everyone except Con.

                                                            ACT ONE

scene one

A well-presented living room.  Armchairs, coffee table, lamp-stand, bookcase etc. An old mantel clock is on a shelf.  French doors leading to the garden. The garden is part-visible; grass, shrubs, a tree right at the back.  A door leads to the stairs. We hear a voice singing, loudly and badly, in the garden.

            VOICE:                      We will take him up the Arse…

                                                We will take him up the Arse…

                                                We will take him up the Arse…n…al

CON DWYER appears from within the house, shaking his head.  He is in mid/late fifties, a bull of a man.  He moves to the French doors and looks out.

            CON:              Jimmy, would you mind moderating your vocal delivery…you prat.

His reply is a ball kicked in the direction of the doors.

            CON:              Oi! It’s not Saturday down the North Bank with the rest of the morons.

JIMMY DWYER appears from the garden.  He is in around thirty, swarthy, dark complexion. His head may be shaven. He wears an Arsenal jersey, and is carrying a can of lager.

            JIMMY:         What was that, Con?

            CON:              Put a sock in it.  You’re among civilised people now.

            JIMMY:         No, before. The intellectual bit.

            CON:              I asked you to moderate your vocal delivery.

            JIMMY:         That’s good, that. (drinks) Where’d you pick that up?

            CON:              Some literary magazine

            JIMMY:         The Sun?  Hey Psycho, could you moderate your vocal delivery.

            CON:              And if he didn’t?

            JIMMY:         We’d kick his head in.

            CON:              You’d do that anyway.

            JIMMY:         Yeah. But not with such style.  (beat) Must remember that. Use it the next


            CON:              And when are you likely to see a game again?

JIMMY:         Yeah, well…(brightens)  I can watch the highlights tonight.

            CON:              Not on my telly, you can’t.

            JIMMY:         Aw Con.  Just because you support the Jewboys…

            CON:              It’s the reception.  We can’t get BBC here.

            JIMMY:         I forgot I’m back in the fucking bog again.

            CON:              Better than being back in the nick.

            JIMMY:         Yeah, you’re right.  Look…thanks again for putting me up. I’ll get out of

                                    your hair in a few days.

            CON:              Aren’t you forgetting something?

JIMMY:         I ain’t forgetting.  I’ll be out’a your hair soon as I finish that little job.

            CON:              Don’t take too long about it. (pause) Nothing too drastic, mind.

            JIMMY:         Gotchya. (finishes the beer) Think I’ll take a stroll. You know, stretch the


He heads back into the garden, and we hear singing.

            JIMMY:         We’ll take ‘em up the Arse…………Take ‘em up the Arse…

Con watches Jimmy depart, unaware that MARION, his wife, has been watching the last few exchanges. Marion is early fifties, good-looking in a matronly sort of way.

            MARION:      A few days! I can’t stand five minutes more of that…that sort of vulgarity.

                                    He’d better go.

            CON:              How long have you been there?

            MARION:      Long enough.  There’s no excuse for that kind of language.  It belongs in

                                    the gutter.  And so does he.  What little job?

            CON:              I don’t know.

            MARION:      Sounded to me like you did.

CON:              Someone owes him money I think. Ah… you know Jimmy.

MARION:      That’s what worries me.  Get rid of him.

            CON:              I can’t do that.

            MARION:      I’ll do it then.

          CON:              He’s my sister’s son for God sake!

            MARION:      And that gives him the right to be foul-mouthed?  Though maybe that’s

                                    where he gets it from.

            CON:              Josephine?  Bad language?

            MARION:      She could swear for Ireland, England and Europe when she had a mind to.

                                    How would you know anyway? You’ve hardly seen her in twenty years.

            CON:              Neither have you.

            MARION:      I’m not her brother. Anyway, I spent enough years sharing a room with

                                    her.  So don’t tell me what language she could or couldn’t use.

            CON:              Oh yes.  I remember now.  Harlesden Gardens.  Round the corner from St

                                    Marys Church.  Mrs McGinty was your landlady.  Ex- Gestapo, wasn’t


            MARION:      There was nothing wrong with Mrs McGinty.

            CON:              Nothing that a firing squad couldn’t cure.

            MARION:      You never liked her.

            CON:              She never liked me!

            MARION:      And whose fault was that? You terrified that poor woman.

            CON:              She had no sense of humour.

MARION:      Oh yes.  Let me see now…five ton of building sand dumped in her front drive…

            CON:              She needed a new patio…

            MARION:      A load of unasked-for horse manure…

            CON:              Her roses were looking a bit poorly…

MARION:      Catalogue furniture, carpet fitters, undertakers, funeral wreaths….

                        Hilarious, that. She must have been laughing her head off. 

            CON:              She was a fucking bitch.

            MARION:      Just because she found you in bed with…

            CON:              I wasn’t in bed with him. I was only in his room. (pause)  I had nowhere to

                                    sleep for Christ sake!

          MARION:      I thought it was pretty funny at the time.

            CON:              I’m glad someone did.  Did you know she told Fr. Cleary?  He was round

                                    like a shot.  You know how that lot are about…things like that.

            MARION:      The church frowns on homosexuality, Con. He was only doing his job.

CON:              Huh! Half of Willesden knew about it before the week was out.

            MARION:      Now, where’s your sense of humour?

            CON:              I can take a joke like the next man…but that wasn’t funny. Bloody narrow-

                                    minded ould biddy. Did she really think I was like that?  All I did was

                                    sleep in a friend’s bed for a few nights when he was on night shift.

MARION:      You overslept that night, Con. (laughs) I was finishing my cornflakes in the kitchen when she came in. She was in a right state – about the four legs she saw sticking out of the bottom of the bed.  And I think they’re men’s legs, she whispered, blessing herself.  ‘Course I knew two of them were yours…

CON:              I should’a stayed in your room.

MARION:      God no! That would have been worse still in her eyes. Anyway, you didn’t  really know me then. It was only after that we started going out.

            CON:              Oh yeah, that’s right.  I swept you off your feet soon afterwards.

MARION:      (a forced laugh) She was very good to me, the time I spent there. God rest

                        her soul.

            CON:              She’s dead?

            MARION:      She died last year.

            CON:              I never knew

            MARION:      Why should you?

            CON:              You could have told me.

            MARION:      What for?

            CON:              So as I could go and get drunk.

            MARION:      Since when did you need an excuse to do that?

CON                I would have raised my glass to her… (he raises an imaginary glass)

Your good health Mrs McGinty. May you continue to feed the hungry worm population….

            MARION:      See what I mean? I thought all that was forgotten.

CON:              It’s not just elephants who never forget.  She made a laughing stock of me. I didn’t dare show my face in the Galtymore for ages afterwards…

            MARION:      You made sure you got your own back, didn’t you?

            CON:              (an uncomfortable silence) Ah, it’s all history now.  (pause)

            MARION:      Is it?  (another pause)

CON:              I’ll have a word with Jimmy….get him to tone it down a bit.

            MARION:      I don’t want him here at all. There’s bound to be a room at the inn.

            CON:              And if there’s not, they might have the use of a stable, eh?

            MARION:      What?  (realising) Michael’s going to be here in…(she looks at her

                                    watch)…less than three hours.

            CON:              Better dig out the red carpet sharpish then, hadn’t I?

            MARION:      If that’s the way you’re going to…I can see now it’s going to be a fine


            CON:              And whose fault is it if I’m not exactly over the moon?

            MARION:      He’s our son for heaven sake!

            CON:              Oh yes…our son.

            MARION:      For God sake! He’s been away five years, Con.

            CON:              I know that.

            MARION:      You could show some enthusiasm at least.  You never even…enquired

                                    about him (beat) He could have died for all you cared

CON:              No!  Don’t say that. Don’t bloody say that.  I do care.

            MARION:      Show it then.  Show him.

            CON:              I’m not like you. 

            MARION:      You don’t talk to him.  You never talked to him.

CON:              I did. I tried to. He’s the one who wouldn’t speak. After the…well…after what happened. (pause)   Besides, you do enough talking for both of us. All those phone calls…

            MARION:      Oh well, if you’re going to complain about a few little phone calls…

            CON:              I’m not complaining.  Jesus!

            MARION:      Are you going to speak to him?

            CON:              He’s the one who wouldn’t speak to me, remember?

            MARION:      I don’t want him arriving and finding you won’t speak to him.

            CON:              I said I would.

            MARION:      It’s not just him now.

            CON:              That’s another thing.  Getting married in the wilds of Woomabera –

or wherever it is. What’s wrong with here?  His home?

            MARION:      This isn’t his home. London is.

            CON:              You know what I mean.

MARION:      We got married in Willesden Junction.

            CON:              It’s not out in the bloody wilds.

            MARION:      It’s Katoomba.  And it’s not in the wilds.  It’s just outside Sydney.  I’m sure

                                    they are civilised there.

            CON:              Bloody upside-downers. I remember when I worked in Earls Court…

            MARION:      They remember you too, I bet…

            CON:              No one ever said a bad word about me. It’s in the breeding. The Kennedys

                                    can go anywhere and hold their heads high.  Civilised people every one of


            MARION:      Apart from your nephew Jimmy.

            CON:              Funny how he’s my relation all of a sudden.

            MARION:      He’s no relation of mine.

            CON:              Ah come on, he’s not that bad.

            MARION:      He’s a thug.  A foul-mouthed, nasty piece of work. And I don’t want him

                                    round my house.  What’s he doing here anyway?  You haven’t seen him for


            CON:              He just turned up.

MARION:      Just like that?

CON:              Yeah.  I couldn’t turn him away.

MARION:      On the run, then. A rat’s natural habitat is the city sewers, not the countryside.  Not enough victims  (pause) I don’t want the police coming round here.

            CON:              What police?  What are you talking about?

            MARION:      Where he’s concerned they won’t be far behind. I can see why Josephine

                                    washed her hands of him.

            CON:              She never washed her hands…

            MARION:      Abandoned then, if you want a better word.

            CON:              She did her best.

            MARION:      Josephine always did her best.  For Josephine.  Not that I blame her too

                                    much.  I might have done the same myself.  I mean, when your own son

                                    tries to burn your flat down – with you inside… (pause) He’s a psychopath;

a bigoted, racist, nasty…

            CON:              He needed a father, someone to keep him straight…

MARION:      And that would have solved all his problems, would it? God, aren’t fathers great altogether! (pause) Does he know Michael is coming home?

            CON:              I didn’t get round to telling him.

            MARION:      Oh, that’s grand.

CON:              It won’t be an issue.

            MARION:      No, it won’t.  And do you know why.  Because Jimmy won’t be here. And

                                    you had better make sure he won’t. I’m going out for an hour now…that

                                    should give you enough time to sort it out.

            CON:              Out?  Where are you going?

            MARION:      A policeman wouldn’t ask me that question.

            CON:              You’ve done the shopping.

            MARION:      Yes.  And now I’m going out again.  (she exits)

Con watches her go, a look of thunder on his face. He takes out his mobile phone and makes a call.

end of scene

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