Caves

Last night I went to Flavia’s. She’s been a hugely positive force in my life for years. I first met her at a party when I was at Guildhall and she was very young. She wanted to be an actor. She was auditioning for drama schools. I helped her out by challenging her. In my experience that’s a good way of helping young artists, and artists generally. They either rise to the challenge, or take themselves out of the mix.

She tells me: “I’m auditioning for drama schools in two weeks.” “What speeches are you doing?” “No idea.” “If you come to Guildhall tomorrow evening with two speeches I can help you. If not I can’t. I’ll meet you out front at 7pm”

She showed up. She had some speeches. It’s a sad thing but monologues are still the backbone of the drama school acceptance process, despite being the least efficient way of getting a sense of an actor. I met Flavia after college and we snuck into a room and worked the ones she had chosen. It was lovely. She was hilarious and brave. I encouraged her to play and she played. She didn’t get into Guildhall dammit but she still went to a decent drama school and since then she’s been on a journey. She decided very quickly that she wasn’t an actor though.

Now she’s in theatre PR and has a brilliant bonkers son who has become a friend of mine. We play well together, Ivo and I. We always have. Back when he was a toddler we used to improvise games with each other and it seems that’ll never change. Yesterday the two of us spent a good long time improvising games. Here’s another photo of us, since I took none today. Ivo is in disguise as me. You might not be able to tell who is who.

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It was beautiful to hang out with Flavia. Friendships only deepen with time. We’ve had lots of time.

I hung out with her and Ivo last night, and then got home to find my brother Jeremy. His son Campbell is on my sofa this week, but I didn’t expect Jeremy. He’s been in Egypt teaching art, and before that in Hong Kong. Now he’s back, and looking towards making a habitation out of some troglodytic caves that he inexplicably bought in the Loire Valley many years ago. By the time I was home I was already smashed and suddenly I was having to think practically about how my brother could live in a cave. Of course my go-to was unhelpful from his perspective. “Make it a massive party venue. If you do it right there’ll be people from all the nearby villages that are desperate for somewhere cool to go.”

I spent the morning with him, mostly motivating action. The caves he owns are huge and beautiful. There’s not much room for audience or I’d be thinking of them as a performance venue. They’re a venue for happenings though. But Jeremy is terrifically demotivated regarding them. They just sit there. With work they could be a living space or a performance space or – anything you care to make of a big empty cave. But it’s got to be better than what they are now. Right now they’re just big damp caves in France.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

One thought on “Caves”

  1. Al, I live in Pays de la Loire now. Let me know if you all do ever think of doing anything cool with caves – if I can help, I will x

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