Letter from Christian

Letter from Christian

To My Socially Distant Hero, 

It gets so dark before the dawn. 

That’s when it gets to me, before the city symphony of taxi horns. 

You promised a refinery, an observatory even.  A rabbit with a name - two names - yet nothing dropped out of the hat.  You said we’d be rich, rich, filthy dirty rich.  A barrel of crude promises.  We were going to make a killing. 

You planned to unfurl a fuggy flag of saltire blue on the south bank of the Thames, and watch your efforts fill the London air with a smog of honesty, purity and gentle humour, choking the critics and audience alike in the anti-climactic glory of relative normality. 

You were our local hero.  So, what went wrong? 

You can’t blame the negative oil indices.  Where does one store one’s dirty money when the refineries, tankers and banks are overflowing?  Lockdown has impacted upstream and downstream operations 

When it all returns, will theatre audiences wear masks like Phantoms at the Opera?  Will we sit two metres apart as if idling through a particularly bad fringe production?  Will sanitiser gels be available in the ice-cream trolley and, if so, what flavours will you have?  So many unusual questions for unusual times. 

In an ideal world, all the things that we do would count. Letters to the editor (or the theatre in this case).  Not in a lockdown lone star state.  Whilst some people suffer, others have never felt better, and for others it’s sadly game over. 

The sands of time trickle on as these weary days of solitude and separation gnaw at the very soul of society.  Yet beneath the surface, the pulse continues a steady beat, diminished and muffled but never silenced.   What price for a handful of those very sands of time in the eyes of an all-seeing omnipresent theatre?  And when we all have time on our hands, are those same grains of sand the cut-glass currency of today, echoing the past, etching the future and elevating the abstract and intangible into desirable social real estate?  

You are our mirror.  We see ourselves, we see others, and we reflect upon reflection.  In adversity, we have an opportunity to reshape the landscape, correct our mistakes, redesign and refine what is intrinsically wrong.  

I wonder if I can go home again, and I long for the day that you open your doors. 

In the meantime, we celebrate and acknowledge the local heroes that have come to the fore. 


Christian Ball

Tags: From Audience