Author Topic: Lillah McCarthy on Barrie  (Read 673 times)

andrew

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Lillah McCarthy on Barrie
« on: February 28, 2021, 11:14:01 AM »
Here's a rather wonderful sketch of Barrie which I only just found, by the actress Lillah McCarthy, from her 1933 memoir, "Myself and My Friends":

What visions have poets seen which they have never told? Yet perhaps they do tell them – though not in words. How else to understand why it is that men like Hardy, Masefield and Barrie appear to those who know them greater even than their works?
They are transfigured by the vision. They irradiate us with its light. It must be so. I have sat with Barrie night after night in his flat high up over the Thames by Adelphi Terrace. He sits tucked up in his chair, puffing at his pipe, absorbed, silent. Now he stirs a little as though about to speak; but does not. Yet a great peace broods over this communion of silence. Now perhaps a word or two: sentences as short as in his plays – consummate master of compression that he is – a kind word, a whimsical word, never once in all the years we have sat and kept silence together has Barrie uttered an unworthy or an unkind thought. Only poets know such reticence. Barrie can talk well when he likes; he can encourage by what he says, but most by that strange gift he has – not of telling you but of making you feel his sympathy. Silence with Barrie is no empty silence. It is eloquent. He can be silent in many languages. His silence can freeze, but it can also thaw a heart which is numb. Wizard of words, no doubt, but owner of that more occult wizardry – expressive silence.
Yet silence is by no means always golden. It was from no malicious wish to see the effect of one’s silence on the other’s shyness that I arranged one evening a meeting between Barrie and Masefield. We went to Barrie’s flat after my work at the theatre was over. I introduced Masefield. They exchanged a word or two. Silence. Another word or two: another silence: the rest was silence. Good-will and mutual regard were there; but it was just like that. I must scream or run away. I ran; we all ran and trailed home along Adelphi Terrace without ever a word.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2021, 01:30:30 PM by andrew »

Hannah Grippo

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Re: Lillah McCarthy on Barrie
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2021, 12:33:12 PM »
This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I certainly understand the silence can be overwhelming, but as she McCarthy says, not "empty". Some of my favorite (though most heartbreaking moments) of The Lost Boys are when Holm wasn't talking - just staring at young George, or out the window, or to the coffin, or into some inner space. 

Dani1923

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Re: Lillah McCarthy on Barrie
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2021, 08:35:07 PM »
Thank you for posting this Andrew! And I totally agree with you Hannah about Ian Holm’s great silences! I love watching his facial expressions in general in the film! A great actor can say a lot without saying anything at all!