Lewis Hetherington

Lewis Hetherington

Dear Lyceum 


I hope you’re ok 

I hope it feels calm and peaceful 

I hope it feels like a rest and not like you’ve been abandoned 

though you’re still full of life of course 

just because we don’t swing through the doors 

we humans 

doesn’t mean that there isn’t life 

microbial, bacterial, ghosts in the air 

real ghosts 

molecules of oxygen forged by ancient swamps still linger 



the crushed shells of lifeforms, billions of years old compressed into lead glass droplets, crystal hanging from the chandelier 


the red dye in the seats 


the gold thread  

connection between two worlds 

like the moment we take our seats 

joining one world with another 

the compressions from bodies still linger 

the footprints 

the mice in the walls 

the dirt and dust trodden in from places across the world 


the chalk  

the bones of dinosaurs 



a myriad 

slow black old life 

turned into something it isn’t 

so we believe it is 

a pen 

a computer 

a throne on a stage 


dear lyceum you’re an ant’s nest, a beaver’s dam, a beehive, a pink geode in its crystalline complexity underground, a spiders web in wait, water cutting through rock 


you’re an act of nature 


the nature of us to be curious and playful 

to share space and time 

to observe patterns 

to make sense of patterns 

to create new patterns 


I’m still there in you 

and you’re still there in me 


that feeling of Victory 

which I saw in Spring 2002 

sitting in the circle 

as the play opens and 

the language! 

I’ve never heard the word cunt so many times in my life 

my eyes widened  

I didn’t know you were allowed to do that 

not in a proper posh theatre 

that language was physical 

Kathryn Howden, imperious and intimate 

more than a human 

theatre reminds us that we are just that 


I’m watching If Only...  

It started as a dream in Canada 

and now I sit watching it play in Edinburgh 

tears flowing as a son tells the story of his love for his mum 

as I sit next to my mum 

and we watch the moment they part 

I’m in that moment now 

I’m a boy skipping and holding his mother’s hands 

I’m in the future when I’m saying goodbye 


And its you Lyceum. 

You opened that portal 

a little tear in the fabric of time and space. 


It’s not all been like that of course 

some of the shows were, well.... 

sometimes I sat baffled  

as others whooped or laughed or wept alongside me 

and I’m reminded how we’re all totally different inside 

shifting internal landscapes 

from creature to creature 

from moment to moment 

but those shows linger inside us all 


misremembered of course 

constantly evolving 

new dialogue  

the sets redesigned 

performances made brighter or stranger or more devastating 

living on in my re imagination 


I feel it all 


I feel the ice creams in my belly  


I feel myself in orbit of the ocean planet Solaris 


I feel the seats  

and the marble 

and the hot air of a packed bar after the show, 

sounds and colours clanging loudly  


I long to feel it all again 

Let it fill my skin.  


And we will.  


Though I hope we won’t be too noisy when we return, 


Or I don’t know 

too brutish or glib 


I hope we don’t forget that you waited for us 

through this still and silent time 


I hope we don’t treat you as easy 

or disposable 

or trivial 


I hope we let you breathe 


I hope you let us back in. 

Tags: Letters