The moment occurs in the film The Tightrope – a master class for actors with Peter Brook, filmed by his son Simon. An actress walks the edge of a carpet. First, she is walking through fire. When she reaches the corner, she must turn and walk the rest of the way as if making her way through water – two of the trials in The Magic Flute. Peter Brook stops her several times. You don’t walk a tightrope the same way through flames as you do through liquid pressing down on all sides.
Things people tell you. Things they hold back. What to share and with whom. What they expect in return for the sharing. If all goes well in Court, we’ll have a party and you’ll be invited, he says. At which point, it’s best to laugh and pretend you’re in the scene at the European Traders’ Association dinner, where Graham Greene’s character, Wormwold, is doing his best to avoid the poisoned offerings. The scene reads like a piece of Peter Sellers’ in The Pink Panther. (In real life, the real person then said: “I didn’t tell you about my mother’s side of the family, did I?” And went on to mention his mother’s maiden name, and the town in which that patronym strikes fear – or, as the saying goes, respect).
I guess I’ll spend time at the library again. To my knowledge, the public computers over there should allow for a modicum of privacy – how’s that for irony – while I labor on another read-through, plus another draft query letter. Oh, and the ironies involved in that exercise. good grief.