Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rihla (Journey 14): Istanbul: Archers, Artists, Admirals and Architects in the Field of Arrows


The Blachernae Palace at northern end
of Constantinople's Theodosian Walls looking
across Golden Horn to the OkMeydani


Rihla (The Journey) – was the short title of a 14th Century (1355) book written in Fez by the Islamic legal scholar ibn Jazayy al-Kalbi of Granada who recorded and then transcribed the dictated travelogue of Ibn Battuta. The book’s full title was A Gift to Those who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling and somehow the title of ibn Jazayy's book captures the ethos of many of the city journeys I have undertaken on foot in past years.

Here is an account of one such journey through Istanbul.

Turkey in general, from the ancient Urartian, Hurrian, and Hittite sites, to the oldest settled township at Catal Hulyuk, to Greek and Roman remains, to Armenian, Georgian, Seljuk and Ottoman places of worship, is a wonderful destination for the wanderer particularly those with a love of history and the craving to examine the architecture of that history.



(Floorplan drawn by Arben Arapi)

I have long had an interest in the development of Seljuk and Ottoman hospital facilities and particularly in those that were dedicated to the care of women. A number of years ago I was conducting some background research on the combined mosque and hospital complexes designed and built by the outstanding Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan (1490-1588) (only Santiago Calatrava in modern times comes close to the innovation and range in structural architecture that Sinan accomplished) in and around Istanbul and of special interest were the Haseki Hurrem mosque and women’s hospital that Sinan built for Roxelana the wife of Suleyman the Magnificient, the beautiful Sulemaniye ( Sinan’s simple tomb is at the corner of a street close to this mosque) and the darussifa – a hospital with an insane asylum – at the Atik Valide Complex in Uskudar on the eastern shore of the Bosphorus.



Sinan's Tomb

Having visited these it became more and more inviting, as it often does when your mind and body have a chance to go nowhere and everywhere at once, to try and see more of Sinan’s work. An equal interest in Ottoman naval history spurred me across the Golden Horn to visit the tomb he designed for the Kapatan Pashas (supreme commanders of the Sultan’s navy) Hayreddin Barbarossa of Algiers (1478-1546) in Beciktas and the mosque complex of Piyale Pasha (1515-1578).

The Piyale Pasha district is located on the southern margin of what once was the Okmeydani of Istanbul. Okmeydani means ‘field of the arrows’ and it was the area of land set aside by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the conqueror of Constantinople in 1453, for the practice of archery, particularly flight archery where the effort was to try and send the arrow enormous distances rather than specifically at a target. Earlier meydani had been established in Brusa in the 1390’s and Edrine in the 1420’s and although Turkish horseback archery was long established flight archery ranges were an adoption of the Maydan as-Sibaq (Flight Shooting Field) established near Cairo by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars I in 1265.




The extent of the hillside site on the northern side of Istanbul’s Golden Horn – The original circumference of the Okmeydani field was about 5000 metres – allowed the existence of a number of shooting ranges (Delikli Kaya, Arkuri, Mir-i Alem Ahmed Agha, Yildiz Menzil, Ali Bali, Sultan Mahmud II, to name a few) to be established, some of which were named after specific famous archers and which were then used depending on the wind direction and air turbulence to try and achieve the maximum distance possible. Small highly tensile Turkish composite bows were used and the special ‘pizrev’ tapered flight arrows were approximately 63cm long. The range origins were marked by a ‘footstone’ or ‘ayak –tasi’ where the archer would take his stance after ritual preparatory exercises and where the arrows fell – if a significant distance was achieved – a marker stone or column, the ‘nisan tasi’, was erected and usually inscribed, the kitabesi, with the name of the archer, the date, the wind conditions and the distance shot.

A sufi or deverish tekke or lodge for archers ( the equivalent of a guild but with mystical and religious procedures) was established during the time of Sultan Bayasid II (ruled 1481-1512) and Şeyh Hamdullah (1436–1520) one of the greatest Ottoman artists and caligraphers, became its first Shayk or leader. Many top calligraphers were also members of the archery tekke as the strength and control required for bowmanship was thought to help them in their penmanship. Successful archers were recorded in a ledger kept by the tekke and the initiates were inducted (kabza alma) into special elite groupings when they could fly an arrow 900 gez, 1000 gez, or 1100 gez. The induction ceremony was known as ‘taking the grip’. A gez has been estimated by modern analysis to be approximately 61cm.

Anyway my intention was to make my way to where the archer’s tekke originally stood (only part of its later minaret remains) hoping to see on the way the marker stone of Seyh Hamdullah and Tozkoparan Iskender (he holds the greatest flight distance record at 1281 gez (778m) in 1550). I went by water as it seemed appropriate. The northern shore of the Golden Horn or Haliç in Turkish was the site of the Arsenale of the Ottoman Navy and I took a ferry from Balat to Haskoy and detoured for a coffee and cake at the Rami M. Koc Industrial Museum Café at the Lengerhane (Ottoman anchor and chain factory) on Haskoy Caddesi.
Armed with a a 1974 book in Turkish on the history of the area by Ismail Fazil Ayanoglu documenting the site of about 100 of the nisan tesi or abedesi I headed up along Okmeydani Cd to join Toygar Sk, Sahin Sk and then up Dutluk Sk to find the marker stone of Seyh Hamdullah. No sign of this so I returned back towards Tekke Sk along the walls of the modern Okspor, the site of the original Archer’s tekke. The streets were narrow and dusty and many locals appeared both amused and suspicious as I consulted my map and peered into gardens and houses looking for lost pillars. I went down Kullakiz Cd to where the Halic Police Station is. Nearby is the marker stone of the main man Tozkoparan. It was only later that I found a Beyoglu Munipality map of the sites of remaining target stones (now only about 25 where once 300 existed) in the Okmeydani and many of these are displaced from their original locations.

The Okmeydani became a military enclosure after suppression of all Sufi Lodges, including the Archers, by Attaturk in 1924. Since the Second World War the area has become a warren of illegally built or ‘overnight’ houses which are now permanent where foresight and enforcement of Mehmed’s 1453 decree could have ensured a wonderful city centre park for ever.

I made my way back up past Sinan’s Sinan Pasha Mosque and eventually down the side of the hill to the Piyale Pasha Mosque. Piyale Pasha was the commander of the Ottoman forces, which inflicted a heavy defeat of the Holy League navy in 1560 at Djerba and was also recalled from retirement to rebuild the Ottoman Navy after defeat in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

I loved Sinan’s design of the Piyale in particular both from the outside as well as the inside. It incorporates a real lightness of touch, fun even, in its construction, with a large wrap-around covered verandah at one corner as well as wonderful candy bar coloured arches.

Hareke is the Turkish for slowing or concentrating on your breathing and dampening any excitement while preparing to shoot arrows. It was my time to dampen excitement and after an hour of looking around and imagining pizrev, kaabiz, or karabatak arrows flying over my head to land in the cemetery on the far side of the Piyale Pasha Boulevarde ( my book said there were 20 or so of the marker stones in that direction) I grabbed a taxi and headed back across to the old city.





I had enjoyed my day amongst the artists, archers, admirals and architects in the Okmeydani but there is only so much walking you can do in pursuit of moving stones.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimar_Sinan

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cordoba Initiatives – Old and New.

A conversation between Averroes and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf


"Reason is a light which is certainly needed to illuminate the darkness, but it can also be useful in full daylight."
Mohammed Abed Al-Jabri
(December 27, 1936 – May 3, 2010)



A bit like Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano reflecting the divergent tectonic pressures of the mid-Atlantic ridge xenophobic intolerant magma has suddenly erupted onto the internet and newsprint concerning the plan by the Cordoba Initiative to construct an Islamic cultural centre and mosque about two blocks from the site of the World Trade Centre in New York City. Ignoring the fact that innocent Muslims both died and were also working as rescuers during the disaster many right wing commentators are rushing into print decrying the building proposal as further proof of the ‘demon’ advance of Islam in America and as a repudiation of the memories of all of those who died.



The Cordoba Initiative is a foundation established by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam of the Masjid al-Farah mosque of the Khalwati Jarrahi Sufi Order, about six blocks from the World Trade Centre Site. Imam Rauf has expressed the desire to develop ‘ "an American-Islamic identity," an Islam that is orthodox in its religion, in its theology, in its practice, but culturally American and Western.’ Towards this end he founded the ASMA – The American Society for the Advancement of Muslims – now controlled by his wife and more recently the Cordoba Initiative. The money backing the project appears to be coming mainly from Malaysia.

I have tried getting into the writings and teachings of Imam Rauf to get a better understanding of where he is coming from. In a way, although of high intellect and an accomplished Islamic scholar and Imam, he comes across more as an intelligent salesman and entrepreneur as well as a very savvy media performer. I do not want that observation to seem belittling in any way as I genuinely believe he is striving for tolerance, inter-faith discourse and mutual benefit. In a way, however, he is the ‘active intellect’ embodiment of a modern resurrection of Averroes defense of Aristotelian philosophy expounded by the Moroccan philosopher Mohammed Abed Al-Jabri, who died recently on the 3 May.


Cordoba 1900

And this brings me to the naming of Rauf’s Cordoba Initiative. The name intrigues me somewhat and most commentators have assumed it was named because of the apparent inter-faith integration that existed in the Umayyad Caliphate of Al-Andalus, and Cordoba in particular, in the 12th Century.

I beg to differ. I think that perhaps it is named the Cordoba Initiative after one of the most famous sons of Cordoba Abū 'l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Rushd (1126 – December 10, 1198) known as Averroes, an Andalusian Muslim polymath; a master of Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence (the Maliki school was the domininant Islamic legal school in Spain), logic, psychology, politics, Arabic music theory, and the sciences of medicine, astronomy, geography, mathematics, physics and celestial mechanics, attributes that Imam Rauf also partially achieves in his multiple interests.




The danger of placing your hopes in buildings as a way of establishing a meaningful pathway to understanding God’s design is best illustrated by the disappointed words of Charles V on his visit to appraise the Christian ‘restoration’ of the Great Mosque of Cordoba in 1526 – undertaken against the wishes of the people of Cordoba but with Charles’ permission – which had destroyed much of the harmony of the mosque’s interior vaulted architecture:

‘You have built what you or others might have built anywhere,
but you have destroyed something that was unique in the world.’


http://www.asmasociety.org/perspectives/article_11.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averroes
http://www.cordobainitiative.org/

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rihla (Journey 13): The Gallows’ Green, Cork and Ghosts of Women Burnt for ‘Petit Treason’




Rihla (The Journey) – was the short title of a 14th Century (1355) book written in Fez by the Islamic legal scholar ibn Jazayy al-Kalbi of Granada who recorded and then transcribed the dictated travelogue of the Tangerian Ibn Battuta. The book’s full title was A Gift to Those who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling and somehow the title of ibn Jazayy's book captures the ethos of many of the city journeys I have undertaken on foot in past years.

This rihla is about an area near the University in Cork formally known as Gallows Green.

In 1976 in my second year in UCC I was dating a girl – or as they say in Cork ‘doing a line with’ – who was studying commerce. She lived in a house on Deerpark Road about 20 minutes walk from the University, a road that linked Pouladuff Road and Friars Walk. Late on some of those winter nights – university romances were invariably of short duration, with an incredible mutual intensity that only winter can generate for come the late spring exams and the long summer recess ahead people, promises and romances departed for distant lands – I would make my way back towards the University through Greenmount Crescent and St Finbarr's Road to College Road and with the wind howling on occasions I sometimes thought it sounded like a woman screaming.



Cork 1759

And for good reason. The area was not always called Greenmount. Indeed up to 1852 Deerpark Road was known as the Kinsale Road and it terminated at Gallows’ Green where all public executions were undertaken until 1868. Greenmount Crescent was then called Gallows Green Lane and when the Cork Corporation leased the lands to Presentation Brothers to build a school there the street and location names were changed to try an eradicate the distasteful memory of the site’s original function. My return to my parked bike followed the route of many of the ‘drawn’ last journeys of men and women to their executions.



Modern Cork

One form of execution that took place in Gallows' Green in particular stands out. That was the hanging and burning of women for petite or petty treason.



Title Page in Norman-French of 1351 Treason act

In 1351 the Treason Act was promulgated (25 Edw. III St. 5 c. 2) in the English Parliament to codify the common-law offences that comprised Treason. It was basically an act that declared the offences and punishments for where an inferior was disloyal to a superior in status and law. In the case of disloyalty to the Sovereign or his/her heirs (attempted murder/ counterfeiting / murder of justices) this was known as High Treason and the punishment for men convicted was to be drawn to the place of execution, hung but not killed, and then disemboweled and quartered while still alive. For women convicted of high treason the punishment was to drawn and then burnt at the stake as they felt it was not proper to have the woman displayed in a naked state to be disemboweled publicly.

Petite’ or the little or Petty Treason was a form of ‘aggravated murder’ where a subservient person or chattel, such as a wife or servant, killed their lord and master, or in the specific case of a wife killing her husband. For men convicted of this lesser offence the punishment was drawing and hanging (no quartering) but for women they were still burnt at the stake. In later years the practice of executing the women first by hanging before lighting the pyre generally occurred. However on occasions it was noted that the women were still alive when the burning took place.

This is a description of the execution of Phoebe Harris in 1786 in Newgate for counterfeiting:




“Phoebe Harris was to be the first woman burnt at Newgate, as distinct from Tyburn or Smithfield, and her execution was carried out just after 8.00 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday the 21st of June 1786. A huge crowd, estimated at some 20,000 people, had turned out to watch this gruesome spectacle. Phoebe was led from the Debtor's Door of Newgate by two sheriff’s officers to a stake that had been erected halfway between the gallows and Newgate Street. The stake was some 11 feet high and had a metal bracket at the top from which a noose dangled. Phoebe was described as, "a well made little woman of something more than thirty years of age, with a pale complexion and not disagreeable features." She was reported to be terrified and trembling as she was led out. She mounted a stool and the noose was placed around her neck and was allowed a few moments to pray with the Ordinary before her support was removed and she was left suspended. According to V. A. C. Gatrell’s book “The Hanging Tree” she died hard, he reported that she choked noisily to death over several minutes. After hanging for half an hour, the executioner put an iron chain around her upper body and fastened it to the stake with nails. Two cart loads of faggots were now piled around the stake and then lit. It is reasonable to assume that she would have been quite dead by this time. After a while, the fire burnt through the rope and Phoebe’s body dropped, remaining attached to the stake by the chain. It took over two hours to be completely consumed by the fire, which continued to burn until midday.”




In Ireland the English 1351 Treason Act became applicable after Poyning’s Law (10 Hen.7 c.22) made the Parliament of Ireland subservient to the English Parliament and the Tudor Crown in 1494 during the reign of Henry VII.

On Wednesday, the 7th of May, Mary Earberry, after being first half hanged, was burned at Gallows Green, in Cork, for poisoning her husband, Daniel Earberry, a tallow chandler in Paul Street.

It has been difficult to discover how many were executed in this way but in England between 1735 and 1739 there were 32 burnings. The type of execution was to continue up to 1790 in England and to 1796 in Ireland when the Treason by Women Act (Ireland) 1796 abolished burning and hanging alone was substituted. This is a list of the women hanged publicly at Gallows' Green in Cork: 29.01.1800 Mary Connors, 02.04.1813 Catherine Donovan, 04.08.1815 Honora Houraghan, 10.04.1818 Mary Connell, 19.08 and 1833 Elizabeth Heaffy. In Dublin the burning/hanging took place on what is now Fitzwilliam Street and in Limerick it was in Cromwell's Fort. On the 29/04/1853 Honora Stackpoole in Ennis, Co. Clare was the last woman to be publicly hanged in Ireland. After the 29 May 1868 all executions were subsequently conducted in private and the public drawing to the place of execution was abolished in 1870.

20 years ago a mass grave of dismembered bodies was found at the back of a house in Greenmount (Gallows Green).
This is the very dry report of that find from www.excavations.ie :

Cork
1990:022
Greenmount, South Ward, Cork
. Mass Grave
W699708
.
In July 1990 human remains were uncovered in the back garden of a private residence in Greenmount, Cork City. The original ground level of the garden was almost 2m higher than the ground level of the house. It was while reducing the level of the garden that bones were discovered.

 The exposed earth was over 1.5m high at its highest point. It consisted of a dark coloured band of refuse material - glass, pottery, tin cans and metal and varied in depth from 0.11m to 0.48m. Beneath this was a brown silt layer, which extended to present ground level. Within this silt layer at a depth of 0.85m from the surface was a compact layer some 0.1m deep, which may have been a pathway which traversed the site. At a depth of 0.18m to 0.2m below this was a 20mm-40mm band of red brick and mortar fragments. A band of broken slates lay 0.16m-0.18m further down. The human remains were 0.1 7m-0.2m under the broken slates, at depths ranging from 1.1m-1.4m below the surface.

 At least 15 individuals were recovered from the area. None of the skeletons was complete and many of the bones were broken. In one area all the long bones were stacked neatly together with the skulls lying close by. No evidence of a delimiting pit was uncovered - it is likely the grave covers a substantial area and the pit walls lie beneath neighbouring gardens. There were no associated finds.”




No wonder I thought I heard the screams on those winter nights.

Further Reading: Shelly A.M.Gavigan, Petit Treason in 18th Century England: Women’s Inequality before the Law.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Rihla (Journey 12): Dublin: Bucks, Butts and Iveagh Towers



Rihla (The Journey) – was the short title of a 14th Century (1355) book written in Fez by the Islamic legal scholar ibn Jazayy al-Kalbi of Granada who recorded and then transcribed the dictated travelogue of the Tangerian Ibn Battuta. The book’s full title was A Gift to Those who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling and somehow the title of ibn Jazayy's book captures the ethos of many of the city journeys I have undertaken on foot in past years.

This rihla is about Dublin, Ireland

Perambulations would be another way of describing those journeys: wanderings of the spirit along the orbit of a city’s apogee and the personal sense of the impact of magical journeys on foot through palaces of hubris, places of worship, souks, streets and passageways is often difficult to explain to someone else. Literature has tried, even before the specific genre of travel literature developed, and has always incorporated in some way or other a perambulation or rihla of the heart and place. James Joyce, for example, was to ‘freeze-frame’ a city perspective on a single day in time by utilizing the wanderings of Rev John Conmee from the north to the south of Dublin in Ulysses.



Rev Conmee the Perambulator in Ulysses

Every city has had a moment in time: Athens, Rome, Carthage, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Isfahan, Granada and Cordoba, Istanbul in the 16th Century, London and Paris of the 17th and 18th, Barcelona in the 20th, Dubai in the 21st. Dublin of the early 19th Century is a case in point: an Iveagh tower.

A few years ago I spent an academic year travelling by early train every Friday morning from Galway to Dublin in order to get to afternoon lectures at the University College Dublin campus in Earlsfort Terrace where I was studying for a Higher Diploma in Forensic Medicine. Somehow that year the weather was invariably kind for walking and arriving about 10.45 I would always wander from Heuston Station to the jewel in Ireland’s crown that is the Chester Beatty Library, stop for lunch in the museum’s Silk Road Café and then travel onwards towards south-eastern corner of Stephens Green slightly varying my route each time to take in a different aspect.



My Journey

With each of those journeys it was impossible not to experience the physical impact that the Guinness family had on the geography of Dublin. Past the site of the St James Gate Brewery that Arthur Guinness had obtained a 9,000 year lease on in 1759, up Watling St to the site of the original James Gate in the city walls, down Thomas St to Cornmarket, High Street and Christchurch. Across the road to Castle Street, turning left into Little Ship Street past the sentry box and into the precincts of Dublin Castle. A sharp turn right would then bring me to the Chester Beatty Library. A quick brouse of whatever exhibition was on, a lingering look at some of the rare manuscripts on display and then down the steel and glass staircase for coffee and food at the museum’s café.

After finishing lunch, usually with a sweet Lebanese pastry, I would then wander out again down Bride Street, past the Iveagh Baths and Iveagh Buildings, the affordable housing and facilities built by the Iveagh Trust, the successor of the Guinness Trust established in 1890 by the 1st Earl of Iveagh, Edward Cecil Guinness. Edward Cecil the great-grandson of Arthur, bought out his brother Arthur's, the 1st Lord Ardilaun’s, half-share in the brewing company in 1876 and was to float the company on the London Stock exchange in 1890. Lord Ardilaun’s Dublin Artizan's Dwellings Company of 1875 was to be the forerunner of Lord Iveagh's Guinness Trust and between them the towering red-bricked monuments to their sense of civic responsibility framed the landscape of my walks. Ardilaun also was to acquire and renovate St Stephen’s Green and donate it back as a gift to the people of Dublin in 1876.

James Joyce was to subsequently refer to the two brothers as Bungiveagh and Bungardilaun, after the ‘bungs’ or stoppers used to close the beer kegs, and as the ‘lords of the vat’. The majority of the building work paid for by the Guinness family took place in an area of Dublin known as the Liberties.



Speed's Map of Dublin and St Sepulchre
Note that Speed scaled the distances involved in 'Pases' for all good perambulators.

At the junction of Bride Street and Kevin Street there is a large Garda or police headquarters. The site was once the location of the Palace of St Sepulchre’s, the headquarters of the Manorial lands of St Sepulchre and the centre of the Liberties of the Archbishop of Dublin. The Liberties were originally lands outside the city walls which under Royal patents dating back to 1180 allowed the manor to have their own courts of justice where they were allowed to try all crimes except "forestalling, rape, treasure-trove and arson", free customs, freedom from certain taxes and services, have their own coroners, rights of salvage, maintain their own fairs and markets, regulate weights and measures, etc. Many of these priviledges were removed by 'An Act to abolish the Jurisdiction of the Court of the Liberties and Manor of Saint Sepulchre in and near Dublin, and for the future Regulation of certain Markets of the said Manor' on 21st July 1856.

The Manor of St Sepulchre’s and the Archbishop of Dublin’s lands extended as far as to where St Stephen’s Green and Earlsfort Terrace meet now and are linked by Kevin Street Upper and Lower, Cuffe Street and Stephen’s Green South (formally Leeson Street). The fields to the south of Stephen's Green – known as Leeson Fields in the 1750’s – were acquired from the Leeson family by John Scott, the 1st Earl of Clonmell and a Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench in Ireland. Scott was known as ‘Copperfaced Jack’ and lived at 17 Harcourt Street. He developed the thoroughfare now known as Earlsfort Terrace at the eastern end of the fields and laid out the remaining land in a rudimentary fashion as a pleasure garden. (I intend coming back to Copperfaced Jack again in another blog particularly with regard to his hanging sentence role in the famous Heiress Abduction Trials)



John 'Copperfaced Jack' Scott,
1st Earl of Clonmell

After his death in May 1763 his son renamed the fields the Coburg fields in honour of the Hanoverian Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales who had died in childbirth and who had married into the Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield dynasty (The direct ancestors of the current house of Windsor as after Charlotte's death her uncle Edward was quickly married off to her sister-in-law and that union produced Queen Victoria – who also married another Saxe-Coburg although a Gotha this time in Albert.)

The 1st Earl of Clonmell was a close friend of the famous Dublin bon-vivant and lynch-pin of the resurrected Hellfire Club Buck Whaley who lived nearby at No. 86 Stephen’s Green. In an irony of intent and behaviour the Whaley family house, built in 1765, subsequently became part of Newman College( along with No. 85 and a Victorian Hall), the foundling site of the Catholic University of Ireland (UCD)of 1854 and the later alma mater of James Joyce in 1902. As an aside, in my own case the graduation ceremony for The Forensic Diploma took place in the Whaley’s living room with its ornate carving of Orpheus. If only the walls could have spoken. Imagine James Joyce and Buck Whaley in conversation. Neither of them listening to the other or even interested but conducting a conversation nonetheless.

I’m getting to the end of this particular journey and my walk through the Iveagh bower. In a sense the journey although linear in direction was almost circlular in spirit as I had applied and was accepted to study Architecture in UCD at Earlsfort Terrace in 1974. I subsequently declined the offer in favour of Medicine in UCC and had no regrets but as I climbed the stairs to my lectures I would remember that the Architecture portfolio interview in 1974 had been conducted in the same room with its marvelous Richard King stained glass window.

The Earlsfort Terrace university building and the National Concert Hall attached are the structural remnants of the exhibition hall built for the Dublin Exhibition of 1865 on lands donated by Benjamin Guinness. Benjamin, the father of the 1st Earl of Iveagh, had bought the Coburg fields from Clonmell’s heirs in 1862 (they had been open to the public from 1812), and his house was at 80 Stephen's Green, which is now the Department of Foreign Affairs. He also had the part of the fields not used for building landscaped into a pleasure garden by the landscaper Ninian Niven. Within the design there is one of Dublin’s only dedicated and sunken Archery Butts (College Green in Trinity College was also originally an archery ground known as Hogge’s Butt), a faux waterfall, and pathways lined by armless statues left behind when the exhibition finished. Benjamin Guinness gained his Baronetcy for sponsoring the 1865 Exhibition in 1867 and when his son Edward Cecil became an Earl the gardens were formally renamed. They were donated to the state in 1939.



The Dublin Exhibition of 1865.
Note the statuary, many of which are still to be found stalking
the Iveagh Gardens nearby.



The 2008 statue of the singer Count John McCormack beside the Earlsfort Terrace Gate singing
to a headless nymph hanging about from the 1865 Exhibition.

The Iveagh Gardens, accessed through a small gate at the back of the Earlsfort building and from Clonmel Street (only one 'l' nowadays), are a real oasis in modern-day Dublin and during the mid-afternoon break in lectures I would wander and smoke my pipe and try to calculate the time on the sun-dial in the far south-western corner. Bishops, Lords, Libertines, Earls, and Counts have all contributed to its being.

The Iveagh Gardens: A true liberty within the Liberties, without.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Bridge


Introduction
The Bridge is a one act play I wrote as part of my submitted work in a playwriters' course conducted by the Fishamble Theatre in Dublin in 2001. Highlighted in red are the characters and in blue the stage directions.


Location: Visitors' wing of Calypso Road Correctional Facility. Stage scene consists of simple set with a table and two chairs and one wall of iron bars with a door in the middle. Stage in near- darkness at curtain up with one highlighting spotlight that moves back and across the front of the audience before focusing on the figure of one sitting man who faces the audience. He sits there for a while just staring out at the audience and around the room as the lights gradually go up. There is the sound of footsteps and a guard comes to the door, opens it and ushers in another character into the cell.



Guard: Murphy! Your lawyer Costelloe has arrived. He’s left it very late so you’ll need to be quick. Time is nearly up. (Costelloe comes in and throws his briefcase on the table and then walks around the table in an anti clockwise direction before standing with one foot on a chair and looking down at Murphy. Murphy meantime has followed him around with his eyes.)

Murphy:
I was beginning to wonder if you were coming at all.

Costelloe:
Wonder? What a strange choice of word. (Walks around the table again and touches the bars and walls before looking at Murphy) I would think that Calypso Road Correctional Facility is conceived to forsake any element of wonderment either in its fabrication, function or fornication.

Murphy:
I don’t need reminding of the surroundings or the conditions, particularly from someone like you. (Slams down hand on table and speaks angrily) Just get on and do your job! (Pushes the briefcase towards him, it slides off the table to the ground.)

Costelloe:
(Touches the corner of the table) I don’t take kindly to imperatives . . . from anyone. (Goes to pick up briefcase.) I think our meeting is already at an end. Guard!

Murphy:
Hold it. (Stands up, walks around and picks up the briefcase) Hold it! I’m sorry. We’re getting off on the wrong foot. (They face each other.) I’m sorry for shouting but I’ve been waiting to see you for nearly a week, ever since I heard about the parole board meeting.

Costelloe:
I was aware of that. What of it?

Murphy:
I just wish you’d have come sooner. (Places case on table and walks back to his chair and sits down.) We don’t have much time.

Costelloe:
We! Hah! (Sinister change to voice.) Listen carefully my wondering friend and understand this. We, as you have foolishly assumed, do not exist. Unlike you, my time is my own and I felt no inclination to communicate with you unless it was absolutely necessary? I’m already fully aware of the circumstances of your case and examining them any more would irritate me.

Murphy:
Then why are you here now?

Costelloe:
I’d like to say it amuses me, ‘See that you do not despise one of these little ones.’ Mathew- 17, I think, but the truth is, (Sits down and begins to open briefcase not looking at Murphy) I’m obliged by the parole board to help you prepare your presentation on at least one occasion. For all the good it will do!

Murphy:
It was Mathew 18-10 as it happens. (Costelloe looks up at him. Murphy has a slightly smug expression ) They said you were arrogant?

Costelloe:
Who did?

Murphy:
The other lifers! They said that you took on all of the parole hearings for the murder cases but that you were . . . a weird bastard.

Costelloe:
Weird! Hah! That’s almost a complement, coming as it does from those stalwarts of society. Was it the HIV positive queer-killer Flanagan or the terrorist vegetarian O’Brien, or perhaps even Strychnine Joe, the mascara-plastered crack dealer, who spoke so highly of me? You must find the coven meetings a bit unnerving?

Murphy:
It doesn’t matter who it was. It’s just the general talk.

Costelloe:
May I give you a bit of advice?

Murphy:
Sure! That’s what you’re being paid for isn't it.

Costelloe:
Don’t ever trust your destiny to the walking dead. Flanagan, Strychnine Joe and O’Brien are beyond help and beyond giving help.

Murphy:
At least they understand my misery and I theirs.

Costelloe:
Ahh! That’s very touching but . . . completely misplaced. George Bernard Shaw once wrote- (Costelloe gets up and starts to walk around the table again but stops to put his hand on Murphys’ shoulder) you’ve heard of Shaw haven’t you (Murphy nods defiantly) - that we should not be oppressed by the frightful sum of human suffering because there is no sum. You should not attempt consoling yourself by trying to understand those three; it’s impossible to dilute one’s own suffering.

Murphy:
Christ suffered for us all. Wasn’t that the message?

Costelloe:
(Costelloe stops and sits down) It was a cop out. Martyrdom is a liberation from responsibility and a public acknowledgement of the absence of reason. The only true miracle is that Christ was given a second opportunity to experience the living. I don’t recall too much emphasis on suffering second time around. You, on the other hand, might not get that opportunity.

Murphy:
(Pauses for a moment, looking at Costelloe) I still think that helping one another eases things so I try and get on with the others. Integration is better than disintegration.

Costelloe:
My oh my. I see that the prison school classes have moved way beyond joined-up writing and subtraction. How very profound . . . profoundly depressing I fear. As a modern maxim and the clarion call of the new social ethics integration compromises everything humanity was and is. It demands coalescence and that will be the vanishing point of our progress and the survival you so wish for. Integration is annihilation, and I for one have no desire for that.

Murphy:
So! You’re a racist so!

Costelloe:
(Leans back with hands behind head –sneering) You see Murphy. You are already confused. You’re thinking of segregation and isolation because of class, creed or colour. Desegregation is the opposite. People are in here because of their actions not their pigmentation.

Murphy:
(Murphy gets up and walks around the table) But, and believe me when I say that I’ve learnt this from bitter experience, if you isolate yourself in prison then every echo and every shadow frightens you. I hate the fear that solitude brings. (Pauses before pointing down at Costelloe’s papers) If you took the trouble to read your brief then you would know that I have tried to participate fully in the rehabilitation programme, even to the extent of completing an Open University degree. That must count for something! (Expectant voice and face.)

Costelloe:
(Ignores Murphy as he looks at the papers. Cannot find the information.) In what? ( Irritated voice. )

Murphy:
(Murphy’s face changes to one of disappointment. He shakes his head before mumbling.) Sorry!

Costelloe:
I cannot find it in these fucking papers. What did you study?

Murphy:
Religious studies. It’s helped me find God again.

Costelloe:
Huh! God has a tendency to go missing at the most inopportune times!

Murphy:
I also organised Bible classes for the inmates in the other prison.

Costelloe:
The guards must have been delighted to have such a model prisoner.

Murphy:
The screws I’ve met all along seemed all right. I’ve never experienced any aggro.

Costelloe:
The only thing separating them and you is cowardice, and some steel of course.

Murphy:
Cowardice! What do you mean?

Costelloe:
You haven’t copped it, have you? The prison officers, and, by extension society, are afraid of you.

Murphy:
I don’t understand. (Sits down) Why should they be afraid of me? They have control.

Costelloe:
They fear you because of what represent! Somebody who has ignored society's constraints and laws, and acted on basic instinct. They will not admit it, of course, but there is almost an approval and admiration for your actions and the primitive morality of those actions. Each day that they come in here, they are faced with the smugness of true freedom and each day it eats away at their souls.

Murphy:
I don’t feel free. They can come and go!

Costelloe:
To what? To transfer the brutality of their fear from you to their families or to the bottom of a whiskey glass.

Murphy:
They’re not all that bad!

Costelloe:
You seem very comfortable for someone who is in, what I consider to be, the (shouts towards the bars) most corrupt stinking prison in the entire system.

Murphy:
Go easy would you! I’m here by choice. I asked for a transfer . . . to be closer to my children.

Costelloe:
To the high security wing? (Costelloe checks his papers again) Some transfer!

Murphy:
There were no spaces left in the general block so I was given this. It won’t be for long, I hope.

Costelloe:
Prison is like that?

Murphy:
Like what?

Costelloe:
Full of false hope and false people. The same people, who, if they were anywhere else wouldn’t give you the time of day, want to share their expectations with you. I have little tolerance for that type of false intimacy but . . . as you are so keen to point out, I’m being paid to be here so I might as well listen to your woes.

Murphy:
Don’t bother.

Costelloe:
No! No I’d like to. It will be a tawaf.

Murphy:
A what?

Costelloe:
Did you not study Islam in your Religious Studies course?

Murphy:
Yes but I don’t remember particular mention of a tawaf!

Costelloe:
I expect it doesn’t feature highly on the born-again agenda of prison rehabilitation. (Costelloe gets up and starts circling the table again, anti-clockwise.) The tawaf is a very old, and pagan, ritual of running around a sacred object best seen persisting in the circling of the Kaba at Mecca. (He goes round and round in a manic fashion until stopping suddenly and reaching out to touch one corner of the table.) In prison you tend to run round the truth as the sacred centre, afraid to touch its eastern corner for fear of undermining that truth, as you perceive it. Are you prepared to be truthful?

Murphy:
You’ve a very round about way of asking yourself.

Costelloe:
If I am to help you with the parole hearing we must do things my way. (Shouts.) Do you understand?

Murphy:
I don’t like being pushed around. I don’t like your attitude Costelloe.

Costelloe:
What you think of me is irrelevant because in here you have no substance and no glory, least of all in the eyes of the parole board. It is easy for the Gods in heaven to glorify or debase a man. Do you want to talk or not?

Murphy:
Yes . . . yes I do.

Costelloe:
(Spreads out his papers while standing up) What are you in for?

Murphy:
But you know that already!

Costelloe: ( Sits down) I want to hear you explain it.

Murphy:
Murder . . . well manslaughter really? I’ve seven years of a twenty-year sentence done.

Costelloe:
Whom did you kill?

Murphy:
My wife. I was drunk.

Costelloe:
Why?

Murphy:
Why what?

Costelloe:
Why did you kill her?

Murphy:
I said I was drunk?

Costelloe:
That’s a condition not a reason. Why did you kill her?

Murphy:
It’s none of your business.

Costelloe:
You initiated this meeting. (Gets up and moves around the table again.) See the tawaf through or don’t bother me again.

Murphy:
Do I really have a choice?

Costelloe:
No. Sad isn’t it?

Guard: (Standing outside bars looks at Costelloe circling for a moment and then runs his night stick along the bars.) Time’s up you two.

Murphy: (Looks over. Distressed.) What? Why?

Guard:
Because I say so bollocks. (Rattles nightstick along bars again.)

Costelloe:
(Costelloe goes to the bars and confronts the guard.) Is it important for your happiness?

Guard:
What?

Costelloe:
To jerk off by hitting my client?

Guard:
I’m warning you. I’ll . . .

Costelloe:
Fuck off! (Retreats from the bars to far side of cell)

Guard:
(Hesitates before looking at Murphy) If I were you Murphy I’d watch the company you keep. You’ve a big day tomorrow! Now hurry up.

Murphy:
Right. Ok! We wont be long. (Guard walks off and there is a pause until a far off door clangs shut and silence returns. Turns to look at Costelloe) Thanks for sticking up for me.

Costelloe:
Why did you kill your wife?

Murphy:
I don’t know. (Puts head in hands.) I don’t know.


Costelloe:
Do you think they will mind the possibility of you getting parole?

Murphy:
Who?

Costelloe: (Sits down) Your wife’s family? The collateral victims.

Murphy:
I don’t know. At the end of my trial one of the deBrise brothers promised to get me when I got out. He tried to hit me in the courtroom.

Costelloe:
deBrise. Oh yeah! I'd forgotten that. Your wife had an unusual name.

Murphy:
The family were originally. . . Protestants. Eh...ehmm Huguenots.

Costelloe:
Where are they from?

Murphy:
Who?

Costelloe:
Your wife’s family.

Murphy:
France. They were Weavers.

Costelloe:
I meant now, you arsehole, not in the 16th century.

Murphy:
Milltown, Co. Carlow.

(A long silence.)

Murphy:
You’ve gone very quiet!

Costelloe:
What about the significant others. Would they mind?

Murphy:
Who?

Costelloe:
Your dead wife and your motherless children of course.

Murphy:
I’ve done my time.

Costelloe:
Time! Do you mean prison time?

Murphy:
Yes.

Costelloe:
You’re a fool so!

Murphy:
What are you talking about?

Costelloe:
Time! The concept of time. What do you understand by it?

Murphy:
A punishment; a set period of imprisonment where you come to terms with your past and resolve to better your future.

Costelloe: Well said my learned friend but absolute bullshit of course! There is no past or future.

Murphy:
What are you on about?

Costelloe:
“Not vengeance nor pardon nor jails nor even oblivion can modify the invulnerable past.” Borges, an Argentinean writer, said that.

Murphy:
What did he mean?

Costelloe:
Every moment is autonomous. Like the moment your wife died at your hands. The moment her heart stopped. The past cannot be relived and therefore there is no real punishment. Equally, hoping for something that has not yet happened in the future is also misguided. Doing Time, as you call it, is this moment and nothing else. It is here and it’s gone and the next moment arrives.

Murphy:
But I truly regret what happened in the past.

Costelloe:
Why bother? The past and future are products of our recollection and imagination, but they should hold no fear, as they don’t really exist. This moment exists. That’s all. (Gets up and starts walking again – slowly) I suppose your wife would not agree with those sentiments.

Murphy:
Why?

Costelloe:
Jasus are you thick or what. She's fucking dead. She’s dead and you’re alive and she’d want you to roast in hell for ever. Mind you, it would not be the hell of uncertainty that you are experiencing about the parole board hearing. No! I suspect she’d want every successive moment to bring with it the hell of pain, real physical pain, drawn out interminable pain. She'd want you to share in the evil justice of it all.

Murphy:
But I’m not evil.

Costelloe:
I doubt whether your wife feels, and I’m certain she can still feel, that you have paid your dues.

Murphy:
It was a flash of anger. I was provoked.

Costelloe:
So it was murder.

Murphy:
I was drunk!

Costelloe:
All that the alcohol did was blur your parameters of retribution. It is a convenient plea bargain but not a reason. You still had a will Murphy. Did you respond to something she said or did? Was it a reaction on your part to a perceived threat. What was that threat then Murphy? Did she want to leave you? Was she happier shagging somebody else?

Murphy:
You have no right to judge me!

Costelloe:
(Sits down and leans towards Murphy) Why not? Society did! Your children did and I’m sure as hell your wife still does.

Murphy:
Leave my children out of it. You don’t know my children?

Costelloe:
Oh I think I do. They, obviously, were not making the effort to come and see their father in the other prison, so he had to move closer to make it easier for them. He wants to explain his actions to them, and they don’t want to listen. They don’t recognise reason in your reasoning, or justice in you justification. I’d say they still think you’re evil. Do they actually want you to be free?

Murphy:
Leave my children out of this.

(Long pause again)

Costelloe:
What did you do . . . work wise before prison.

Murphy:
It's all in the file. I was a fitter with the gas company . . . oh you are a sick bastard. You’re enjoying this!

Costelloe:
Of course I am otherwise I would have left long ago! Prison visits allow me to wallow in other’s innocent guilt and rejoice in the misfortune of the guilty innocent.

Murphy:
I’ve never claimed to be innocent.

Costelloe:
Oh I know you poor misunderstood sod. (Sarcastic tone) You were just a drunk man who killed his wife by holding her head in the gas oven. On high flow too be gob.

Murphy:
Yes. That's it. I didn’t mean to kill her.

Costelloe:
(Looks at his papers) They found your semen splattered all over her and around the floor of the kitchen. So you raped her as well ...on high flow as well I suppose.

Murphy:
I was drunk. I didn’t mean to . . .

Costelloe:
Why did you do it Murphy? What was it again? Oh yes it's all here in black and white and bluelight semen stains! She was screwing your own brother. How pathetic . . . how basic . . . how tribal a reason.

Murphy:
You don’t know anything you bastard! (Gets up and walks towards Costelloe and confronts him at very close distance. Costelloe doesn’t flinch) You don’t know anything! (Murphy screams this out and walks towards the bars. He shakes them and then turns to look at Costelloe. The guard comes running in)

Guard:
This is the last warning you two. Wrap it up. Do you hear me? (The guard prods Murphy in the back who turns to glares back at him) Do you hear me?

Murphy:
I’m not fucking deaf you moron. (Murphy’s hand goes through the bars giving a middle finger insult to the guard.)

Costelloe:
(a sniggering laugh) Touchy.

Guard: I warned you Murphy. (He crashes the nightstick down on Murphy’s hand) Now you’ll shut up. (Leaves. Murphy pulls his hand back and initially looks at it mouth open in shock. The pain sets in and he cries out.)

Murphy:
Aaaaaaagh.( Turns to look at Costelloe and is half-crying.)

Costelloe:
Why did you not kill him? Your brother. I think your children would have understood that better.

Murphy:
I told you. Leave my children out of it (Now sobbing and looking at his hand as he slumps down to the floor.) Jesus! He broke my finger. can't you do something about that.

Costelloe:
What. Nah not my business. No. What I want.... I want to know? Why did you kill your wife and not your brother? Would you like to get him now?

Murphy:
Of course not!

Costello:
Why not or was it that you liked the idea of your brother sleeping with your wife? Were you the inseparable siblings sticking together to ride out the storms of a drunken father and an intolerant society? Did he protect you when you were young?

Murphy:
My Da was a footballer who broke his leg. Couldn’t find work . . . began to drink . . . but he never hurt us.

Costelloe:
What about your mother. Did he hurt her?

Murphy:
We tried to stop him but . . .

Costelloe:
But what?

Murphy:
We were too small. Ma . . . didn’t fight back. (Stops sobbing) We couldn’t do it on our own.

Costelloe:
Did your wife fight back . . . when you were killing her.

Murphy:
Shut up! Shut the fuck up! I was drunk. It was a blur. I didn’t mean to kill her.

Costelloe:
And that makes it all right so?

Murphy:
I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it. I tell you. I never wanted to hurt her. (Starts sobbing again)

Costelloe:
Well you can’t anymore. She’s dead!

(Murphy curls up on the floor of the room holding his hand against his chest in the foetal position. Sobbing away. After a while he speaks again.)

Murphy:
Why are you so cruel? I’ve never done anything to you. You are meant to help me.

Costelloe:
What did you expect? Sympathy!

Murphy:
No but I thought you might . . .

Costelloe:
What? Understand! Get with the program murphy you prick. This is a prison boy, a steel encrusted vacuum of understanding. Why should I care about your misfortune?

Murphy:
I just thought . . .

Costelloe:
The trouble is you’re not thinking and that will be your downfall.

Murphy:
What do you mean?

Costelloe:
Tomorrow!

Murphy:
Tomorrow?

Costelloe:
The parole board you stupid shite. If you think I was being hard on you wait until tomorrow. Now get up off your arse and get over here.

Murphy:
You .... you mean you were testing me? All this time? (Murphy sits and then stands up)

Costelloe:
And you failed miserably, as I expected. You need to get your thoughts together more.

Murphy:
(Murphy makes his way to the table) Right! Thanks! God you had me going!

Costelloe:
I know. It was easy.

Murphy:
I hope I don’t run into a bastard like you. (Sits down) God this hand is sore!

Costelloe:
You better be prepared for it?

Murphy:
Will you help me?

Costelloe:
Perhaps! Tell me about the suicide attempt.

Murphy:
I don’t want to think about it.

Costelloe:
(sorts through some of his papers.) Why not? After all it was only just over a year ago. It says here that you were upset after a visit by one of your children and that you nearly succeeded. Tried cutting yourself with a sharpened fork. (Looks up again) I’m impressed Murphy. In fact I admire you. It takes some determination, and desperation I suppose, to kill yourself with a fork.

Murphy:
What would you know about the desperation that someone like me can feel. I know I did wrong and I willingly accepted my punishment. My wife was everything to me and I loved her. I loved her too much and couldn’t bear the thought of her being with somebody else, sharing their bed, laughing at their jokes, whispering secret thoughts. The night of the . . . the night I killed her, my brother and I had gone to the dogs together, as we always did every Thursday. We talked of the old times. We were drinking heavily and he told me that I was a lucky man. He said I had three wonderful children and that my wife was the most beautiful woman he knew. I knew then. . . I could see it in his eyes as they misted over. I had always been aware of how close she and he were, but put it down to a family thing. I suspected there was more but didn’t want to think about it. But that night something snapped. Something went in me that I couldn’t control and when I got home I confronted her. She laughed at me and said I was stupid for not realising it before. I went for her . . . I just wanted to show her how much I felt about her. I was holding her head in the oven when my eldest son Tel ..Terence came into the kitchen and saw what I was doing. It was too late. He ran out screaming to the neighbours. Last year he came to the prison and said that he hoped I would never be free and that he would never forgive me. I just wanted to end it all.

Costelloe:
Would you try doing it again?

Murphy:
What? Kill someone!

Costelloe:
No. Kill yourself. Commit suicide!

Murphy:
No!

Costelloe:
Not even if you, say, don’t get the parole, or if your other two children also reject you.

Murphy:
No!

Costelloe:
(Looks at Murphy for a long moment and shakes his head.) In that case I won’t be able to help you.

Murphy:
What the fuck? Why not?

Costelloe:
A man should know when he has reached the Bridge Brendan . . . may I call you Brendan?

Murphy:
(Murphy nods) I prefer Bren.

Costelloe:
Fine! Don’t you realise it yet Bren. When there is nothing left in this life for someone, no family, no legacy, no love, no past and no future, I would admire them more if they crossed the Bridge.

Murphy:
I thought you said earlier that suicide was an absence of reason.

Costelloe:
I said martyrdom was an absence of reason. There’s a difference.

Murphy:
In what way?

Costelloe:
Suicide is personal; it’s an individual’s cause, happiness and decision. Martyrdom on the other hand is usually for somebody else’s cause, and their happiness. You know the other person you think you are ...who did'nt really kill his wife. Hence the absence of reason Bren. Mind you, come to think about it, your wife, your wife’s family, your own family probably wouldn’t care whether in your own case it was suicide or martyrdom, as long as it was over.

Murphy:
No damn it. I’ll fight it. I can make amends; make it better.

Costelloe:
I doubt you can. (He starts packing away his papers.) I knew a Jenny deBrise once. She was from Milltown.

Murphy:
What the hell? Jenny was my wife’s name. But you know that!

Costelloe:
I remember she worked in the . .eh . . .where was it?

Murphy:
The Post Office.

Costelloe:
Ah yes. The post office. She was nineteen or twenty. A very pretty girl!

Murphy:
Jesus. That had to be my Jenny. We met at her twenty first-birthday party.

Costelloe:
Your dead Jenny now. Flew too close to the sun. No more dancing at the crossroads. No longer able to throw her smile to someone in need of a smile. No longer able to feel the vibrations of laughter and love from people whom she loved. No longer able to reach out, as only she could, and touch the resonance of a man’s soul. She was full of life back then.

Murphy:
I told you I was drunk. I didn’t mean to kill her. (Starts crying again) I didn’t mean it.

Costelloe:
But you did. You snuffed out a beautiful life?

Murphy:
How well did . . .?

Costelloe:
Do you want to know if were ever lovers? (Guard comes back but Costelloe holds up his hand showing five fingers and stares at him. Murphy doesn’t see this interaction) That I loved her better and with more passion than you ever could?

Guard:
You have five more minutes and that’s it. (Murphy looks over at him.) Visiting time at the Zoo is over. (Leaves)

Murphy:
You were going to tell me about Jenny(sobs) and you.

Costelloe:
What? Was I? Do you remember, Sparta deBrise, Jenny’s brother, who threatened you in the courtroom after the trial-

Murphy:
What about him! (Murphy puzzled) How did you know which brother it was? Were you there?

Costelloe:
I told you I knew all the details.

Murphy:
Jesus! (Frightened sobbing)

Costelloe:
If I were you Murphy I would be worried. Sparta’s a very strange character. At the trial he seemed to like hearing what Jenny got up to sexually. The details of the rape and murder made him excited. I could see. I often wondered was there more to their relationship than it appeared on the surface. Wow Jenny could get men going.

Murphy:
You’re disgusting! I don’t believe you. (Gets up to confront Costelloe who moves around the table with Murphy following him)

Costelloe:
You going to kill me now Bren? You see there is no change. Stop the tawaf Murphy. The Truth is there, right in front of your eyes. Why not ask your own brother what Jenny was like in bed. Or even better still ask your children. They would have been the silent witnesses to the love and excitement that Jenny deserved. They would know how she found happiness when their drunken father was missing. They would have heard the cries of joy in place of those of pain that their father inflicted. If you are their father that is!

Murphy:
Shut up! Shut up! (Stops) It’s not true! (Leans against the table) Oh no! (Murphy still touching the table slides to the floor and curls up crying.)

Costelloe:
Touch the corner Murphy. Understand the truth. Did you know that they are all living with your brother now? A real happy family I hear. They are better off without you Murphy.

Murphy:
(On floor-cries out) Noo! Noooooooooo!

Costelloe:
Walk the Bridge of Separation Murphy. (Smiles as he looks down at Murphy) There comes a point in time when every man should stop second-guessing himself. You’ve done it before. Trust your intuition. Take up that fork again! There is nothing left here. (Gathers up his papers) Look to your own happiness.

Murphy:
(Murphy crying uncontrollably) Noooo! Nooooooo! God nooooooooo!

Costelloe:
Guard! Guard!

Guard:
(Rushes in) Are you finished at last? (He looks down at Murphy.) Jesus Costelloe. What is it with you? All your recent clients, seem to be basket cases. It was only last month that Phillips strung himself, and there was Grogan before that.

Costelloe:
I know. (He looks back at Murphy smiling.) I reach out to do what I can for them. In jure alterius!

Guard:
What?

Costelloe:
On Another’s behalf my friend! On Another’s behalf! (Looks at guard) Listen! (pause)

Guard:
Yes.

Costelloe:
I’m sorry about the confrontation earlier. It’s just-

Guard:
I understand. Part of the client-lawyer game I suppose. Getting them on your side.

Costelloe:
Yeah! (Looks down at Murphy) I try to meet people like Murphy half way. Doesn’t always work though.

Guard:
You’re more successful than most. Even if some of them end it. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you again soon.

Costelloe:
Yes. Count on it! (Looks at guard) There’s plenty of opportunity in my line of work and I really enjoy it. Good night.