Volunteers and machines for breaking

Another day in a room full of machines.

Today we were visited by a volunteer. He used to be a software engineer and now, for how many years, he has made this museum his home. He’s on hand to demonstrate the huge sleeping metal creations. We were mid flow when he strode in with complete ownership and immediately started overlapping facts to us, twenty to the dozen. He was quite quickly short of breath from sheer enthusiasm and speed of speech. “Did you notice he was foaming at the mouth?” someone observed mildly much later, and yes – I thought it was my imagination, but he was.

A good brain to pick though. He knows the facts, and since I’m trying to play the man who is the object of his retirement obsession, I will need to have some command of them. Conscious that every question leads to a very long answer, I tried to ask things that will help in what we are making. I have some notes from that. Engineering terms and evidence of his opinions on some things. There’s no recording of him of course. He died in the 1890’s, and they just caught Tennyson on wax tape. David’s voice is lost to time. I fear he was mostly Scottish though so I’m channeling my uncle. Campbell my nephew is coming down and is going to get involved, and he has a laconic North Scottish drawl – “people up in Scotland tell me I sound posh”. He’s gonna be banging his head against the machines as I improvise in an accent. Perhaps if I just go full Day Lewis and refuse to talk any other way until we open then it’ll start to feel natural again. It’s a family voice, but just not one I’ve been exposed to much in my very anglocentric existence.

The issue with our lovely volunteer was getting back to work. He took us downstairs and explained the Dennison machine for breaking chains – did it in such a careful manner that I actually mostly understand how it would have worked now. I’m allowed to move the weight, so I shifted it to where it is unlikely to cause any unexpected movements and snip off an audience finger. There’s public liability insurance with my Equity membership, but I don’t want to have to use it.

Eventually we got through the day’s plan. I need to scribble some things now. We’ve got the shape. It’s almost at the stage already where we need it to have living witnesses in order to understand what it needs. We have no director so we just have to give notes to each other. Thankfully nobody is precious here. We have less than a week. Joy will be found…

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: