I try to make contact but only ever get the automated voice of the answer-phone: ‘The person you are calling is unable to take your call.’

Meetings of the elders company have been depleted; it’s been a long winter full of heavy un-shake off-able viruses. At rehearsals have we adopted the ritual of conjuring absences, naming those not present, sharing fragments of news: the freezer has broken down, she’s having another scan, his knees are getting stronger, there are family problems. From Rodney there is no news.

And today I learn that he died. Weeks ago. This tall, elegant, gentle man, continually taken by surprise by his own body, collapsed, alone, on the floor of his kitchen. His heart had worn out.

Frolic and Caper Southbank Centre 2010
Frolic and Caper Southbank Centre 2010 Roswitha Chesher

And so in the rehearsal room there is no shared news to fill his space. Together we sit in silence. These glimpses into other lives conjure a gentle kind of love.

Five years ago Rodney walked into the company carrying with him his sense of wonder. The world that he inhabited was an astonishing and amazing place.

“Marvelous really”, he would say, “I was wondering if…”

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