For Our Young Ladies

Year of writing: 2006
This is a story about a father abusing his daughter, but it is worse than that. Even those people in the story from whom actual help would be expected, such as the police inspector and the priest, both merely take advantage of their position and make profit from the helplessness of a girl driven into a state of extreme distress.
Total cast size: 7 (2 f, 5 m)
drama, Contemporary dark tragedy
violence, abuse, victims, taboo

The play tells the story of a family tragedy. After being repeatedly raped for several years by her father, the daughter ends up murdering her mother and then committing suicide.

The family consists of Katarina, the mother who met Boris before she turned fifteen. Boris, Brina’s father is ten years older than her mother. Katarina gave birth to Brina at twenty. The unbearable everyday life of a housewife, having to look after her family and her mother-in-law, her husband’s neglect for his family duties or any kind of expression of love, drove Katarina to alcoholism. Katarina discovered that Boris has been raping their daughter when Brina was four years old. After the divorce, Boris got custody of Brina. Katarina was a bad mother, she abused Brina physically and mentally. Brina was caught between the violent acts of her mother and her father’s paedophilia. As a four-year-old girl she didn’t know whom to believe, who, if anyone, even loves her, whom she might trust nor what is right and what isn’t. So, she grew up to be a problematic teenager taking drugs, stealing, drinking. This kind of behaviour is Brina’s way to get someone from her environment to notice her distress. But she gets no support here either. Katarina finally decides to stop drinking. Brina stops taking drugs. On Brina’s eighteenth birthday, Katarina is finally willing to speak and face the truth, but by then, it is way too late. She confesses to Brina that she had always known about her father repeatedly raping her. Brina denies it at first as accepting that her mother allowed this to go on is perhaps even worse than her father’s abuse. Katarina let the innocence and possibility of a “normal” life be taken away from her daughter. During their confrontation, Brina loses control and stabs her mother repeatedly. She then calls the police, but even they don’t listen. So Brina kills herself, too.

The story is told in the mode of film flashbacks, it jumps forward and back in time, switching between scenes and dramatic time strands. There are three periods shown, namely when Brina is four, fourteen and eighteen years old. In between, there are “surreal” scenes, as the author calls them. These could be interpreted as a reconciliation between Brina and Katarina in “another” world.

BORIS: What are you shouting about?

BRINA: Nothing.

BORIS: Who are you yelling at?


BORIS: There’s no-one here though.

BRINA: ‘Cos she left.

BORIS: Who? Nobody is here.

BRINA: She is. You are not.

Lesley Wade

For Our Young Ladies

Language of translation: English

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