Terry Prone: Lady Gregory – A generous life needlessly and silently lost under cover of Covid


DAY 56

Not saying it’s Shakespearean and even shut. However selecting small curls of Styrofoam off the ground after decanting a delivered merchandise, it’s important to admire no matter nameless wag dubbed them “ghost turds”.

DAY 57

Lengthy straight hair, she all the time had, so after we met for lunch after the chemo, it was time to do a double-take and chuckle on the tight fuzzy curls framing her thinner face. She had all the time been fairly. Now, she was lovely. She regarded like a brand new lady.

“No person ever informed me chemo may make your hair curly,” she stated, touching it uneasily, as if it’d fall out once more.

I requested the one secure query: “Nicely?” The reply was clear: “Would possibly get 18 months.”

A very virulent type of breast most cancers? She shook the curly head. The truth is, she had one of many kinds most amenable to therapy. However she had been misdiagnosed. Twice. 

By a carelessly dismissive physician. And by the point an accurate prognosis was carried out, the most cancers had travelled. Would I give her a letter, she requested, saying what my firm would have paid her when she joined us? (I had been attempting to recruit her for ages.)

“Positive. Why, although?” 

She was going to sue, she stated, and must show what she would have earned in her misplaced years. Her husband didn’t want the cash the courts would definitely award her. 

She’d give it to charity. However they wanted to be taught a lesson. “They” being the inattentive medic who had misinterpreted what was apparent, patronised the affected person for being “a worrier” and condemned her to a needlessly early demise.

She taught them their lesson and took thrilled pleasure in distributing the cash awarded to the place it may do most good. By January this 12 months, intervals between spells within the hospital had been shortening. 

Then got here Covid and the 2 of us couldn’t meet, even throughout these intervals. However texts and emails labored. Till they didn’t.

Intensely personal about her private life, she had by no means given me contact factors for the husband I had by no means met, so after I stopped getting responses from her, all I may do was preserve attempting. 

However not continually, lest I torment the already tormented. I even apologised for the potential of having unintentionally offended her in some earlier message, if that had induced the silence.

Right this moment, analysis on confirmed what I already knew. She bought solely 14 months. A intelligent, beneficiant, humorous skilled life was misplaced to medical inattention. A life needlessly misplaced. Silently misplaced underneath cowl of Covid.

DAY 58

Contemplating the chance of a transfer to stage 3, I test whether or not home arrest for the over 70s might be lifted. “Private accountability,” it says. 

Which looks like they’ll’t make us behave, however they determine we’re too scared to make a mad foray into virus-sharing locations.

DAY 59

Speaking to Kieran Cuddihy on the Thursday Interview on Newstalk, I’m introduced up quick when he asks me what a prompter is. I clarify that, as a member of the Abbey Theatre College of Appearing, I served my time within the wings with a tiny lamp centered on the script of no matter was the play that night time, prepared for the second when an actor “dried”. 

Drying, Josephine Tey as soon as noticed, was almost certainly to occur in a long-running play the place it’s doable to say the strains whereas figuring out what fairly contemporary meals may be within the actor’s residence. 

Simply as the home/meals situation kinds itself, the actor finds themselves on stage in entrance of 600 folks, going through one other actor with an expectant expression and no clue what’s the line due at that second to situation from their very own mouth. 

That’s when the prompter hisses the appropriate line. The actor picks up seamlessly and the play strikes on.

Besides on one night time throughout a run of Friel’s The Loves of Cass McGuire, starring Siobhan McKenna. McKenna, as McGuire, reclined on a sofa in a home she was visiting, and Niall Buggy, as her nephew, appeared behind her and spoke to her. 

No reply. I hissed the right line. Nothing. I hissed it louder. Nothing. It was at that second Buggy and I concurrently apprehended the dread incontrovertible fact that McKenna, who reeked of alcohol arriving that night time, had fallen asleep on the sofa. 

Buggy, a younger actor going through a state of affairs that by no means got here up in performing class, rose to the problem just like the star he later turned. He regarded lovingly at “Cass” and chuckled to himself.

“In the event you weren’t useless to the world, I do know what you’d say to me, Auntie Cass,” he stated after which performed the entire scene — either side of it — in inventive conditional mode till the curtain fell and the manufacturing supervisor arrived on stage.

A tiny lady, she grabbed McKenna, bought her upright, smacked her within the face forwards and backwards to wake her, grabbed her by the hair on the nape of her neck as if she was a cat, and drive fed her black espresso at some point of the interval, after which the curtain rose and no person within the viewers was any the wiser.

DAY 60

I go online to a Zoom assembly with a bunch of lethal spectacular specialists simply as the fireplace alarm goes off. 

I yell apologies, open all home windows and flail with a tea towel on the ceiling factor making the racket till it shuts up. It’s tough to be spectacular, after a begin like that.

DAY 61

Trinity School goes to fee 4 busts of girls for his or her lovely Outdated Library, which, over its 280 years, has displayed forty busts, none of girls. Pats on the again to TCD for corrective motion.

One of many girls within the new line up is Augusta Gregory, whose bust may bear the inscription ‘Single most under-rated, patronized and contributory determine within the Celtic revival’. 

Girl Gregory’s slight however entertaining performs supplied a few of the money that allowed the Abbey stage the extra important work of Yeats and Synge. 

It’s a tad overdue for somebody to level out that Augusta Gregory’s portrayals of west of Eire peasants had been a hell of much more real looking and respectful than the Yeats and Synge variations, for the excellent purpose that Girl Gregory watched and listened to these peasants up shut, fairly than reimagining them from a romanticised distance. 

She was infinitely affected person with the posturing of Yeats and fixed in her assist of O’Casey, a author so sensitive and insecure, he wore out the endurance of just about everyone else. Girl Gregory mattered greater than has ever been acknowledged.

DAY 62

And the excellent news? Right this moment, Amazon ran out of the ugliest garment ever made. The Dryrobe. 

We pray it doesn’t — just like the useless mink in Denmark — begin rising out of its grave. Though, given a alternative between a putrid mink and a Dryrobe, I’d go for the mink.

They will’t make us behave, however they determine we’re too scared to make a mad foray into virus-sharing place.


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