By Michael Etherton (auth.)
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When he meets the Catholic Theresa - whose son was shot by the RUC- she asks him if he is a policeman: VIcroR: A torturer, actually. That's why I'm exhausted tonight. Do you know, I've spent the whole day trying to coax a prisoner to jump out through the window? But the ungrateful bastard wouldn't jump. We haven't had a suicide for months. It implies our methods don't work. We're way behind some of the top British police forces .... THERESA: It must be a terrible job. VICfOR: Must it? No ... I like it.
In the Author's Note Kilroy describes it thus: In the beginning I was possessed by the crude manipulation of an eccentric, inaccessible man by forces which sought a model for the purposes of retaining power. (Thomas Kilroy, Talbot's Box, Gallery Press, Dublin, 1979) There are elements of this vision of the hegemony of the new Irish state in all but the concluding sections of the play. The most obvious is the section leading up to the dramatisation of 'Bloody Sunday' in Dublin, 1913, which closes the first half of the play: 53 Contemporary Irish Dramatists The people were misled.
It is an attempt to show intimidation and torture, lies and abuse, as part of ordinary British and Irish society. Indeed, it goes further and shows that the enforcement of the laws and restrictions of the dominant society specifically requires this behaviour. Both playwrights show the policemen caught up with defending an imposed 'civilising' order on elements who quite logically seek to destabilise that order. Lynch's characters precisely demonstrate this: the various members of the security forces who come in and out of the police station during the day show a range of ordinary attitudes, even including the instinctively physical and anti-intellectual plain-clothes policeman Jackie who seems to be longing to beat up the two IRA suspects, Ambrose Fogarty and Willie Lagan.
Contemporary Irish Dramatists by Michael Etherton (auth.)