|It wasn’t too long after
arriving in Bobo Dioulasso that Rob’s personality started to change. No longer
was he full of the joys of spring. Instead, he started to find fault in
everything and would argue about the smallest of things. It didn’t matter what
subject was being discussed, Rob would disagree and have a reason your belief
|It started quite
dramatically with a huge outburst of anger when he was not part of a trip into
town, to check email. Mainly because, the moment you announced you were going
into town people descended on the car so fast there would never be any seats
left, regardless of status or rank. Rightly or wrongly it became a first come
first served affair otherwise it was extremely difficult to manage. His
reaction to this was so extreme he was simply inconsolable.
|He had now gone from the
most upbeat and encouraging person you could ever have wished to meet, to this
guy who would go around with an evil stare, the likes of which I had not
witnessed before. I felt like at any minute, he might launch at me with such a
fury that the last thing I would see was Rob’s grimace as the very life force
was strangled from me. It was quite scary.
|It was now the night of the
Doctor scene and Rob had not, as far as I recall uttered a word the whole
night. Instead he would stare into space with that icy stare, something was
very wrong with him.
|It was now very late as we
had already done some shots of the villagers fleeing Zombies and now Jon and
his guys were setting up lighting in the hut that we chose for the scene. Jon
actually seemed to be in a good mood, as the generator and lights were all
working and he and his guys were doing their thing, and I knew this meant the
scene was going to look great. Suddenly Marie and some others ran up saying,
Rob’s hallucinating. ‘He’s seeing things that are not there and saying all
sorts of weird stuff’!
Zombies in the dark
|So I ran round to
the vehicles and found Rob rocking back and forth inside the
sleeping bag that he had brought, mumbling something incoherent.
I said, ‘hey Rob are you ok?’ as I pulled back the piece of
material covering his face.
|He was staring at
something that wasn’t there about a foot or so in front of his
face, entranced ‘the pins’ he said ‘I’ve just got to get away
from the pins’. That said it all. Anyone who was qualified in
the medical field would have been able to deduce that this man
had officially gone bonkers.
|‘It’s definitely Malaria’,
said one or two of the gathered crowd. This is apparently one of the first
signs. I turned and looked up at other local faces that nodded back with grave
certainty. ‘We need to get him to hospital right now’ Marie said.
|I shook Rob out of his
reverie to tell him what was going to happen. As I called his name, leaning
right over his face he suddenly looked at me as if I was a lost child that he
had just managed to find in a crowded place ‘There you are’ he said. Suddenly
all of his new found anger made sense. He’d been fighting this thing.
|The trouble is, a big part
of his fighting tactics seemed to be denial. He would not admit to being ill
and no matter how much I insisted, he was not going to come to hospital and he
categorically refused to accept that he was ill; it was just ‘weakness leaving
the body’. He was going to do that scene we had come here to do, no matter
what. He would not be beaten by it.
|It was quite amazing that he
was able to stand, let alone perform a scene with multiple takes over several
hours that also required an emotional range. The moment we cut he would slump
down into a chair rocking back and forth in what looked like severe agony,
shaking and sweating. We kept trying to cart him off but he would not have any
of it. He would not move from that place until the scene was done and he would
not let me call off the shoot. I couldn’t help being impressed by that.
|There is no doubt that it
affected his performance in this scene and I would estimate that about 80% of
his energy must have been used to stop himself shaking. Its just a pity that he
was never able to get out that powerful emotive performance that he’d once
practiced whilst waiting for the shipment to come in.