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O’Flaherty V.C.

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O’Flaherty V.C.

by George Bernard Shaw

Genre: Drama
Setting:
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length: 90 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely

EXCERPT:

“Having been awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroics in Flanders, Private O’Flaherty returns home to Ireland to take part in recruitment campaign. He has neglected to tell his mother, a fervent Fenian, that he is fighting for the British Crown. His sweetheart, meanwhile, is determined that her man secure her a substantial war pension, irrespective of the dangers involved.

an excerpt:

MRS O’FLAHERTY. If you wanted to fight, why couldn’t you fight in the German army?

O’FLAHERTY. Because they only get a penny a day.

MRS O’FLAHERTY. Well, and if they do itself, isn’t there the French army?

O’FLAHERTY. They only get a hapenny a day.

MRS O’FLAHERTY [much dashed]. Oh murder! They must be a mean lot, Dinny.

O’FLAHERTY [sarcastic]. Maybe you’d have me in the Turkish army, and worship the heathen Mahomet that put a corn in his ear and pretended it was a message from the heavens when the pigeon come to pick it out and eat it. I went where I could get the biggest allowance for you; and little thanks I get for it!

MRS O’FLAHERTY. Allowance, is it! Do you know what the thieving blackguards did on me? They came to me and they says, “”Was your son a big eater?”” they says. “”Oh, he was that,”” says I: “”ten shillings a week wouldn’t keep him.”” Sure I thought the more I said the more they’d give me. “”Then,”” says they, “”that’s ten shillings a week off your allowance,”” they says, “”because you save that by the king feeding him.”” “”Indeed!”” says I: “”I suppose if I’d six sons, you’d stop three pound a week from me, and make out that I ought to pay you money instead of you paying me.”” “”There’s a fallacy in your argument,”” they says.

O’FLAHERTY. A what?

MRS O’FLAHERTY. A fallacy: that’s the word he said. I says to him, “”It’s a Pharisee I’m thinking you mean, sir; but you can keep your dirty money that your king grudges a poor old widow; and please God the English will be got yet for the deadly sin of oppressing the poor;”” and with that I shut the door in his face.

O’FLAHERTY [furious]. Do you tell me they knocked ten shillings off you for my keep?

MRS O’FLAHERTY [soothing him]. No, darlint: they only knocked off half a crown. I put up with it because I’ve got the old age pension; and they know very well I’m only sixty-two; so I’ve the better of them by half a crown a week anyhow.

O’FLAHERTY. It’s a queer way of doing business.



COMMENTS:

A one-act structure with a cast of four.  But not very interesting to a modern-day audience, and not much plot.


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