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Plays by Alan Richardson


The Broken Band
One Act Drama

  • First performed by the St. Serf’s Players, Edinburgh, 1996
  • The day after the disastrous battle at Flodden. Four Scottish survivors, facing the dangerous journey home, remain divided by mistrust and conflict between themselves
  • Published by Brown, Son & Ferguson

Characters (2m 2f)

Andrew Kerr:  A Border soldier
Mary:  A Glasgow girl (camp follower)
Christina:  A Highland woman (camp follower)
Sir John Renwick:  A Lothian Nobleman
A Borderer:  (Non-speaking)

The Setting: A ruined sheiling close to the border between England and Scotland

Period: 1513

Running Time: 40 minutes


September, 1513. A Scottish army led by King James IV has suffered a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden, a few miles south of the Anglo-Scottish border. The King and many of his noblemen were slain and the scattered remnants of the army limp homeward.

The day after the battle, four survivors have found shelter in a remote hut. There is Sir John Renwick, a young nobleman who has been wounded. For him the call to battle was his loyal duty, unlike Andrew Kerr, a border farmer, who was reluctantly obeying the command of his Lord. Unlike Sir John, who fought until the end, Andrew made his escape when the tide of battle began to turn. He believes that the common borderers like himself, and their families will suffer the inevitable retaliation raids, whereas the nobles who started the war will be safe behind castle walls.

The other survivors are two women, who seem unlikely companions. Christina is a highlander who saw her husband and his clan chief fall under a hail of English arrows. Mary is a Glasgow girl who impulsively joined the army on its march south. But instead of adventure, she quickly discovered the harsh reality of a camp follower’s life. They have both survived so far by looting the dead and wounded.

Instead of uniting to face the hazardous journey home, all four remain divided by mistrust and conflict. When danger threatens, they must abandon their hiding place – and only two will survive.

“Tweed’s echoes heard the ceaseless plash,
 while many a broken band,
 disorder’d, through her currents dash,
 to gain the Scottish land”

 Sir Walter Scott, Marmion