by Jez Bond

This evening we cooked dinner for Brenda, Graham and Kylie Gottsche. Brenda is a playwright whose plays I have directed over the years. We’ve all become such good friends that we went to stay with the family (who spend their time between Australia and the UK) in Sydney a few years ago – and they were the most wonderfully kind hosts. Five hours of food and drink and chatting furiously away and the night has just ended.

Graham told me about their recent safari to Mozambique and alluded to an interesting story about the hunters in Africa who could outrun antelope. Apparently humans are rare in that, unlike most animals, we can control our breathing separately to our running speed. Antelope (as an example) cannot. Therefore as they run faster and faster they become more tired as they can only ever intake one breath per stride. The human, however, can breath many times per stride. So whilst the animal is initially faster it will start to tire more quickly than the human as it will not be able to get the necessary oxygen into its lungs. Eventually it will stop – and the humans will catch up. The same is true of a race done in the States with horses riders and runners. The long distance runners will beat the horse riders.

I thought that I was a bit like the runner in this scenario. Building the theatre is a long, long journey. We may appear to be slow at times – or lagging behind in ‘the race’. But ultimately we will rise triumphant. Now I’m mixing metaphors, that’s more like a phoenix – but you know what I mean! It’s late!

Oddly Dave was just mentioning the book ‘Born to Run’ earlier this afternoon – this is the book in which Graham had read the information. Dave and I were leaving the offices of Dominic Merrick at Hoare Lee – our lighting consultants – after a great meeting. Dom was, as ever, truly inspirational and, along with his colleague Ben, had come up with a great scheme (okay, apart from one hideous light fitting that we teased him about). When we got to the upper office I made a point of mentioning the domestic feel in this space which should, and will, be reflected in the lighting – as Melli and I need a place where we can sleep over on those heavy tech weeks and late press nights. Something tells me that this runner is going to keep on running for a long time. But on those rare moments when I stop, I’d like a little comfort!

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