The action happens on January 15 l947 in a room in a house in London’s East End. It is based on a true incident. What happens when Jewish activists decide to assassinate the Foreign Minister?

4 men, 1 woman.

ACT ONE SCENE ONE January 15 l947

A large room with a table and several chairs.

It’s a cluttered bed-sit with old newspapers, clothes and rags all over the place.

HARRY is typing a letter and listening to the radio

RADIO

(v/o)

‘Here is the nine o’clock news from the BBC Home Service.

(He moves the tuner to try and get a better sound and loses it to Mozart)

Mr. Bevin, denounced what he called the murderous terrorists

(strains from Don Giovanni)

the British Mandate in Palestine

(Mozart intercuts)

blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem last year

(back to Mozart)

raided banks in Jaffa and sabotaged police compounds....’

(Mozart)

Harry sings the Mozart with the radio as he searches among the clutter. He finds his army uniform, puts it on. For a few moments he marks time on the spot. The door opens.

MAX enters with a black leather bag.

He passes it to HARRY who takes it gingerly and opens it.

HARRY takes out a revolver and whistles.

He returns it to the bag which he hides under the table

HARRY

How many?

MAX

Three Stens. Two Enfields.

HARRY

Anyone see you?

MAX

What you take me for?

(HARRY takes off his uniform and gets back into his own clothes)

HARRY

You’re late. I was anxious.

MAX

No buses. I had to walk

HARRY

(BEAT)

Did you shave this morning?

MAX

Yeh.

HARRY

Not ‘yeh’. Yes

MAX

The fog’s so thick, conductor walks in front of his bus with a torch. I gets off and I can’t even see my own hand in front of me. And it’s brass monkey out there. Can’t you light that fire?

HARRY

(He picks up solitary lump of coal and shrugs)

MAX

Any tea going?

HARRY

What am I? A nippy in Lyon’s Corner House? How is she?

MAX

Mrs Gold?

HARRY

Yes

MAX

Fine

HARRY

That’s all?

MAX

A bit nervous

HARRY

Nervous. We’re all bloody nervous. Was she alone?

MAX

Yeh

HARRY

Good (SILENCE) What’s up?

MAX

What?

HARRY

I can smell it. There’s something.

MAX

Nothing

HARRY

Was she careful?

MAX

She’s done it before hasn’t she?

HARRY

What?

MAX

Hiding stuff.

HARRY

Don’t ask questions

MAX

She asked plenty

HARRY

Oh?

MAX

About you.

HARRY

And what did you say

MAX

Schtum .

HARRY

Was her kid there? What’s his name?

MAX

Adam. He’s away. No one saw nothing.

HARRY

If you say so.

MAX

What you writing?

HARRY

Letter to The Times.

MAX

(takes the letter and reads)

Dear Sir, Lord Balfour promised Palestine to the Jews as a homeland.We Jews fought and died in the British Army fighting fascism and how are we rewarded? With the Foreign Secretary waving The White Paper, in our faces. And what does it say? “No more Jews in Palestine” .

(HARRY takes the letter and rips it up)

HARRY

Waste of time.

MAX

Dresden. Berlin. Hanover. All those bombs. (BEAT) Why not the railway?

HARRY

What you on about?

MAX

It really bothers me you know that.

HARRY

What?

MAX

Auschwitz.

HARRY

Oh that

MAX

Why didn’t we bomb it?

HARRY

Because ‘we. That is Churchill didn’t want to risk English pilots/

MAX

They knew all about it. Back in ’43

HARRY

/just to save the Yids

MAX

A few bombs on those tracks and think how many lives

HARRY

(interrupts)

would have been banging on the doors to get to Palestine?

MAX

When did you get involved with all this?

HARRY

Questions, questions.

MAX

You want to go there?

HARRY

Where?

MAX

Palestine.

HARRY

Don’t you?

MAX

I want to see Jaffa. Haifa. Tel Aviv. Jerusalem.

HARRY

Where it stinks of God?

MAX

What does that mean?

HARRY

I want a state but I don’t want all that religious nonsense

MAX

Who do you support? Menachim Begin?

HARRY

The Pole? I don’t care about names. I just want the Brits out (picking up ripped pieces of paper) Maybe I should’ve sent this.

MAX

No. HARRY Why not?

MAX

If they check up on you....

HARRY

Paranoid. (BEAT) Irene Gold

MAX

What about her?

HARRY

Something’s up

MAX

No it’s not.

HARRY

You said she was asking questions?

MAX

She sends her love.

HARRY

What?

MAX

Or was it regards?

HARRY

You look guilty.

MAX

Me?

HARRY

You and her?

MAX

What about it?

HARRY

Something happen?

MAX

Any tea going?

HARRY

Later.

MAX

Dry as a wooden crate.

HARRY

What?

MAX

Never mind.

HARRY

Why a wooden crate?

MAX

Shall I boil some hot water then? HARRY Wait til the others get here. I don’t want you schlepping all over the house

MAX

How long you got this place?

HARRY

A few months

MAX

What happened to your manor?

HARRY

Hilda’s there

MAX

Kick you out did she? SILENCE

HARRY

(shivers)

You’re right. It is brass monkey. I could do with a real drink. Warm me up. When did I last have a decent Scotch. (BEAT) You didn’t finish

MAX

What?

HARRY

Irene Gold.

MAX

Oh her.

HARRY

Well? What was she asking?

MAX

I had to....

HARRY

What?

MAX

You know

HARRY

Do I?

MAX

She was jumpy about the stuff

HARRY

What?

MAX

I had to ‘calm her down’.

HARRY

You shtupped her. Is that what you’re telling me?

The full script is published in Political Plays  by Julia Pascal from Oberon books