12-37

At 12.37pm on 22 July 1946, the King David Hotel in Jerusalem was bombed. 91 people were killed, 46 wounded.

The bombing was carried out by right wing Zionists, targeting the headquarters of the British in Palestine.

Two Irish Jewish brothers, Paul and Cecil Green, journey from their Dublin birthplace, to battling antisemitism on the streets of East London. After the war their Irish nationalism propels them towards Jewish nationalism as they struggle against British Imperialism to form a Jewish nation state.

As violence between British soldiers, and Jewish terrorists erupts, Paul and Cecil become involved in an act of terrorism that changes both their lives.

12:37 raises complex and controversial questions around Jewish violence, homeland and national identity in a stunning new play that is both a hard-hitting historical epic and an intimate family drama.

Subtitles are currently being prepared. In the meantime, if you wish to see the script for acessibility, please write to sally@pascal-theatre.com


SCENE ONE

DUBLIN

1935. A bedroom in a poorly furnished house. A man is in the bed. He is in his sixties, thin and dying. Three sons are in the bedroom with him.

CECIL
Shema Yisroel Adenoi Elohanu—

PAUL
It won’t help.

CECIL
Adenoi Echod.

PAUL
‘Hear O Israel. The Lord is One ‘ What the hell is Israel of the Lord for da?

CECIL
We can pray.

PAUL
Sure, and I’m going to marry Marlene Dietrich.

HENRY
Now you’re talking.

PAUL
Let’s get it over with. The poor bastard is in agony.

CECIL
We all agree. (Beat.) That’s certain?

HENRY
Agree or not agree, it’s all a lot of bloody nonsense.

PAUL
Like your bloody stupid prayers.

CECIL
What about ma?

PAUL
What about her?

HENRY
Should she be asked?

PAUL
What’s the point?

HENRY
Cecil’s right. We should ask her.

PAUL
Look, you eejits. They give him three weeks at the most. That’s three weeks of vomiting blood and screaming in pain. You want more of that?

CECIL
What’s the hurry?

PAUL
You know what that pain is like? It’s not like one of your bloody migraines, you know.

HENRY
You’re in an awful rush. Sure you haven’t got a pretty nurse to see?

PAUL
And if I have, what’s it to you?

CECIL
Eileen Reilly. You want to get in her knickers, is that it?

PAUL
Jaysus, will you give me a bit of peace? Do we or don’t we?

HENRY
Let’s vote?

PAUL
Sure. We could ask Dev if he wants to count the vote if you like.

CECIL
A vote’s a good idea.

PAUL
Right.

CECIL
Suppose he can hear us?

PAUL
Of course he can bloody hear us. And he’s wishing we’d put him out of his misery now. He can’t eat, his bones are sticking out worse than a Friday night chicken after you lot’ve been picking at it. Is that a life worth living?

HENRY
When there’s life, there’s no hope?

PAUL
Stomach cancer is no hope.

CECIL
But is it allowed? What does the Talmud say?

PAUL
Jaysus, who cares what the bloody Talmud says, do we go ahead or not?

CECIL
We vote.

PAUL
Who’s for putting him out of his misery?

HENRY
Suppose we ask him again?

PAUL
You meschuggah? He’s been begging for out for the past week.

HENRY
He might not be ready.

PAUL
Ready. Ready? Who is his right mind is ever ready? You want me to call a priest for the last rites?

CECIL
He was so proud when we all graduated. Sitting so proud, like a little Litvak. And you remember how he pulled out four cigars from his pocket. We sat there smoking. Saying nothing. Like he was Abraham with three new sons. (Beat.) You know, every night, I dream I am back there taking finals. Sitting, looking at the bloody question, and not knowing the answers. Every morning, I wake up sweating.

HENRY
Me too. Only I am in surgery. The patient is ready. And suddenly my mind is blank. Is it an appendix I have to do, or a hernia?

CECIL
I never wanted to be a doctor.

HENRY
I never knew that.

CECIL
A chazan. Just to sing in the synagogue would have done me fine.

PAUL
A cantor! Jaysus, will you get that head out of the shtetl and into the twentieth century?

HENRY
I didn’t want to be a doctor, either.

PAUL
Jaysus, now it’s confession time?

CECIL
What then?

HENRY
A pilot.

PAUL
Yes, and I wanted to be Johnny Weissmuller in ‘Tarzan.’

CECIL
God help you.

PAUL
Well then, God or no God, do we take this great bloody democratic vote or not?

HENRY
We vote. But if one of us disagrees, then we don’t do it.

CECIL
Done.

PAUL
Gentlemen and gentlemen, we are gathered together tonight to vote on whether we shall allow our beloved father to suffer in agony for several more weeks until the good Lord takes him and turns him into dust, or whether we shall set aside our Hippocratic oath and inject a fatal dose of morphine. All who wish to help our father, soon to be in heaven, raise their right hand.

CECIL
Shema Yisroel adonai elohainu adonai echad. (Beat.) As long as it’s not me that does it.

Henry lifts his hand. Cecil lifts his hand while praying with his eyes closed. Henry looks at Paul.

Production History

Premiers at Finborough Theatre 29 November – 21 December 2022
Written and Directed by Julia Pascal
with 
Alex Cartuson. Ruth Lass. Danann McAleer. Lisa O’Connor. Eoin O’Dubhghaill.
Designed by Liberty Monroe
Lighting Design by Jon Stacey
Sound Design by Flick Isaac-Chilton

12-37 is available to purchase from Bloomsbury

Press

“What an impressive and profound piece of theatre! It worked on so many levels – your writing, your directing and staging, the quality, accuracy, versatility and energy of your terrific cast. It’s both moving and distressing and you’re brilliant!” Mike Leigh

“To write an epic play on this scale, using only five actors, is quite an achievement”@londontheatre1
https://www.londontheatre1.com/reviews/1237-at-finborough-theatre/

★★★★ London Theatre 1
★★★★ Everything Theatre
★★★★ ReviewsGate

Julia Pascal Interviewed, BBC Lunchtime News 16/12/2022 From 5:20
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001g60h/bbc-london-lunchtime-news-16122022

Michael Collins and Jewish nationalism” Julia Pascal Interviewed, Irish World 2022 https://www.theirishworld.com/julia-pascal/

excerpts:

LondonTheatre1, John Groves

“The highly talented cast quickly and skilfully draws the audience in so that we feel fully involved in the epic tale they are unfolding.”

“O’Connor has a beautiful poise and stillness in her portrayal that is infinitely watchable…”

“To write an epic play on this scale, using only five actors, is quite an achievement…”

“Pascal’s new play has opened up a period of British, Jewish and Irish history that has lain almost forgotten for nearly ninety years. The result is a gripping piece of theatre.”

Everything Theatre, Sara West

“This is an important and complex play that attempts to raise nuanced and controversial questions around Jewish violence and national identity.”

“The play’s reach is vast and it has been written specifically for a small cast who each undertake a number of roles. They are all beyond exemplary in their portrayal of their characters.”

ReviewsGate, William Russell

“The five strong cast come up with superb performances under the author’s direction…”

“…a really serious play with a great deal to say about nationalism, what makes a terrorist, what constitutes someone fighting for freedom, and how a family’s relationships are affected over the passage of some two decades by events not always outside their control.”

Mark Aspen, Harry Zimmerman

“…an absorbing and powerful piece of theatre.”

“The five-member cast are uniformly excellent and rise effortlessly to the challenge of creating a series of scenes which are believable, occasionally humorous, sometimes moving, but always engaging.”

#Fringe Review, Simon Jenner 
http://fringereview.co.uk/review/fringereview-uk/2022/1237/ 

“What’s striking is how writer/director Pascal refreshes physical theatre business in monologues. Traditional methods gleam with this first-rate ensemble, rippling with a kinetic fluidity that renders storytelling a sinew of water, light, even dust.” 

“Lass as Minnie is an indelible Irish-Jewish matriarch, young enough to have one last shot at desire; and as the chillingly pragmatic Matron in 1936 and hardened fighter Shoshana Liebovicz she extends her range.” 

“In Harry Cohen [McAleer] finds a sweet spot of complexity and warmth…” 

“O’Connor is dazzling, both as sexy plangent Eileen, and Lithuanian Rina…” 

“Pascal’s handling of the climactic moments has the effect of collective held breath…”