Plastic is my home

Alan Van Wijgerden reflects on his Covid-interrupted Nest Residency

Plagues of locusts, biblical floods, it all seems to have happened to my Nest Residency!

It started over a year ago now when Covid was a rumour and happening mostly in China. Things went well for me and my able assistant: set, costume and camera person Jazz. But Covid spread and, with two days to go to finish the production phase of the project, it had to be halted due to the first Covid lockdown. And so the little room in Eaton House became a distant memory.

Over a year later, with Talking Birds’ move to Radford – and Covid (which as everyone knows was only going to last a few months) finally receding – we restarted. I re-learned a forgotten script, It’s relevance around dementia brought into much sharper focus by family events. Personally I’m scared stiff of dementia and my sister says she doesn’t want to get old. Dementia is slow, insidious and cruel.

But Plastic Is My Home also re-visits some of the issues of a now archive film of mine called The All Electric Home which, if I may say, predicted the impact of the likes of Facebook. And Facebook feels like it’s been with us forever now. But in reality it’s so recent.

Talking Birds were grand throughout, providing us with facilities. And special thanks must go to Janet, who held the faith through troubled times and enabled a production I wouldn’t ordinarily have had the resources to do. Jazz was a real trooper too. These residencies are well worth applying for. With a little bit of dosh which is always useful.

Our set came courtesy of that cornucopia of all things cheap and cheerful CROW. (Community Recycling Of Waste) Perhaps for me the hardest part, paradoxically, was memorizing my own script. Such lines as “AMERICA IS ON LINE!!!” and a short ode to the old red phone box.

There look to be opportunities with City Of Culture to show the piece now, which didn’t exist pre-pandemic. Just waiting to do the edit now…

Alan in his costume during a break in filming

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