Gradually petering out

There’s so much in the balance suddenly. Do we carry on with business as usual or do we isolate? I’ve got a memorial service this evening for an old friend of my father’s. A very dear friend of his. There’s no way I’m missing it. But I’m not feeling entirely comfortable about being in a room with lots of old people, in case I carry something in with me.

We were rehearsing this morning for Scene and Heard. We did it in costume and the kids watched it. The sword of Damocles is hanging over this show and all of us know it’s going to fall, but until it falls we are trying to carefully continue. Some actors are already isolated. One of the costume designers is locked in with all the costumes she’s designed. It seems almost certain that what is normally a pre-tech stagger through will be the one and only time we get to run through these sweet short pieces we’ve learnt.


Max and I are going to drive to the memorial, rather than getting on the train. His car is almost dead but hopefully it’ll make it up and back. With the feeling like it is, nobody wants to get on trains or on the tube. One of my friends saw a woman sneeze this morning by putting her entire head into her handbag. The spectre of plague hangs heavy over all of us.

I’m in an uber heading back from Mornington Crescent. I’d normally get a bus but I’m as bad as everybody else. It’s hard not to think about this virus even though I was fine with being hugged by lots of drooling alcoholics last night. I don’t really think of myself as being at risk, despite my bad bronchial tubes. My lungs have come out very well from past pneumonia and I know how to breathe. If I get it badly I’ll have to prop myself up in bed. I’ll have a shit time. I won’t get much sleep but I reckon I’m unlikely to kark it. My main concern is spreading it. I don’t want to give it to someone vulnerable.

My other concern is loss of revenue. Tomorrow I’m filming at 6am. I suspect that’ll go ahead. It’s a small scale shoot and only a few hours in the very early morning. Because of the costumes we are expecting to be flooded with curious people, so we will film before most people are awake and then vanish. It’ll likely happen.

I’ll be cramming lines for Tuesday, though, and it’s more likely that the Tuesday one will shut down. It’s as much to do with the personalities of the humans involved as it might be to do with potential government guidelines. If an actor who is already partly shot decides to isolate themselves then the whole shoot gets either binned or postponed. Ditto a crucial creative behind the camera.

It’s all so unprecedented and unusual. I’m in a standstill traffic jam now on Park Lane. People are laying on their horns. This is worse than I’ve ever seen it, angrier than I’ve ever known it. It’s crazy… I’m gonna get out and walk.


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.

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