Monday, 23 April 2012

Shakespearean Flash - 'Factotum' By Francis Hayes

Homesick; he never expected that. Staring at the paper in front of him, he wills himself to start writing. His thoughts keep returning to Stratford, to Anne, his children.
He bangs his hand down on the table. The pen falls from the ink pot scattering a parabola of drops across the paper.
Unfair; he came to London to escape the distraction of a young family, his wife’s concern for appearances, his parents worries that he could not turn his hand to a respectable trade.
Given the contempt in which actors were held it should have been easy to get work; at least he wished to follow the profession, unlike so many who were actors. But Londoners of even the lowest station gave themselves such airs. Only by persistence, turning his hand to any job that needed doing, starting by holding the horses of the gentry attending the plays, had he established himself as part of the company.In time. when it came to finding someone to step into a breach there was, ‘Will knows the line,’ and even when the play did not work, ‘How might we show this, Will?’
Often he had wished he might have gone with Sidney to Flanders, with Raleigh’s company to the Americas, sailed under Drake; what grand adventures those would be to write about. But he had no patron and no wish to be a foot-soldier, a copper smelter, a sailor. He wanted to write, to present the drama of life. So he had contented himself with the writings of the ancients, histories, the tales brought to London by sailors from all over Europe, his imaginings of the lives of the men and women he saw everyday.
And now that he has been asked to write of the internecine strife of the last century, now he can explore the characters of Henry of Lancaster and Crook-back Dick, he is assailed by thoughts of his family in Warwickshire.
Head in hands he studies the pattern of ink spots on the paper then, thinking of Anne, he picks up the pen to write,‘Oh, tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman's hide.’

No comments:

Post a Comment