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Blackberry Promises

    by Jan Moran Neil


Drama Play Script: 'Blackberry Promises' by Jan Moran Neil

1960 flash forward. A murder has taken place in Alpha Road. Lily Lee is asked if the defendant in the dock is guilty or not.

1959 Hudge Hodge, Des’s older brother is showing sexual interest in Lily and thinks Christmas comes in August. Des’s problem is Lily. Her mother, owner of the grocery shop is the patron saint of virgins. Lily doesn’t know what Des does on her free Wednesday afternoons. He is in fact, making the most of Jean’s availability in the shed. Jean is in love with Des and agrees to Hudge washing dishes in her dad’s caf.

Des has also got an evening job and he and his mother Aida Hodge leave Lily to get Hudge across the busy main Pennington road every evening.  Geoff Mabs has just moved into the chippie. He chats up Lily at the rec. He is humiliated by Des Hodge in the caf and with a couple of other teddy boys bullies Hudge.

Lily knows nothing of the group bullying in the caf. She rushes off leaving Mabs one Sunday evening as she’s promised to bake blackberry pies with Aida. Aida has found Des with Jean in the bedroom. But Des has been trying to chuck Jean. The blackberries end up on the walls, the floor and on Lily and Des when they quarrel.

In revenge Jean seduces Hudge. She makes Hudge promise not to tell ‘their little secret’. When Mabs and the boys taunt Hudge about his ‘girlfriend’ Mabs takes Jean outside to the yard. Meanwhile, Des is with Lily in her attic. She tells him that Jean has told her Hudge is being bullied. Des rushes out to protect his brother at exactly the same time Hudge is protecting Jean from Mabs in the back alley. Hudge stabs Mabs. Des tells Lily to hide Hudge’s blood-stained overall. He’s going to take the blame.

When Lily is asked in court whether Des has killed Mabs, does she keep her promise to Des? Blackout. Audience can discuss what she might say or what she ought to do.


(8m, 8f) 

The Youths - similar ages and ‘rough and ready’

  • Lily Lee - 16
  • Des Hodge - 18
  • Hudge Hodge - 21, Des’s brother, has a learning disability
  • Geoff Mabs - 20
  • Jean Oddy - 17
  • Gary Papanikalou
  • Flick
  • Teresa

 The Adults

  • Gordon Lee - Lily’s father
  • Cecilia Lee - Lily’s ‘a cut above’ mother
  • Aida Hodge - Des and Hudge’s mother
  • Bessie Fenchurch - Aida’s friend
  • Zelda Mabs - Geoff’s coarse mother
  • Kay Hodge - 26, Aida’s daughter-in-law
  • Barrister
  • Policeman
Extra teddy boys & girls if available

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