©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
50_01_006a. The 'now' shot proving that the white buildings in the background were a facade created for the film. The existing buildings behind them are much older and front onto Woodland Terrace.
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2009 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton
©2006 Ian S. Bolton


In the lower part of the park a jeep is careering round the asphalt path which surrounds the field where the tennis courts are situated.

It is packed with students: the same students who had been collecting money on the previous morning in the centre of London.

The jeep lurches along.

The students – some hanging on for dear life – are yelling and banging their collection tins on the body of the jeep, and the noise is deafening.

Camera moves back in front of the speeding jeep.

Camera follows the jeep as it roars along behind the tennis court wire-netting.

THOMAS comes down the steps from the meadow and sees the jeep as it careers along the path below him.

Camera follows the jeep as it speeds away to the far end of meadow.

THOMAS walks forward along the path, watching the students in the jeep.

The jeep drives behind the tennis court along the path immediately below the row of white painted houses.

THOMAS walks on over the grass as the jeep returns, the students shouting as they approach.

Camera moves with the jeep as it pulls up in front of the entrance to one of the tennis courts.

The students get out, and two of them, a boy and a girl, take over one of the courts, while the others spread out along the wire-netting on the near side of the court.

The students look like clowns – they are dressed in bizarre clothes and their faces are covered with white powder.

The boy on the court is wearing dungarees, and the girl wears a striped dress over black tights.

They pick up balls and bounce them on their tennis racquets as they move to either end of the court and begin the game.

That is to say, they mime the actions and gestures appropriate to the game.

In reality they have neither racquets nor balls.

However, the imaginary game gets under way, with the two players rushing around the court with convincing vigour and tenacity, but without uttering a sound.

The boy plays a forehand stroke to the girl, then runs in to take her return.

But he misses the ball and gestures angrily.

Meanwhile THOMAS has moved up close to one of the corners of the court at the girl’s end.

He leans against the wire-netting and watches.

The players run about to hit the non-existent ball, forehands following backhands in quick succession.

They even miss their shots sometimes, scolding themselves and looking mortified when they do.

All of this seen from THOMAS’s viewpoint.

Their friends, who are watching outside the court, follow the game with well-simulated interest, moving their heads rhythmically, as thought following the ball from one side of the net to the other.

Left, right.

Left, right.

They stand in complete silence.

Three of the students watch silently: left, right; left, right.

A girl in a bowler hat with white spots painted on it peers through the netting, her eyes moving steadily right to left, left to right, following an imaginary rally.

Another girl looks through the netting towards the right.

Camera follows the girl playing as she runs back and ‘hits’ the ball.

The boy runs forward and returns the shot vigorously.

Some of the students jump back as if the imaginary ball has hit the netting forcefully in front of them.

The boy runs off to the right after the ball.

Close-up of THOMAS watching the game.

He smiles slightly.

At this point the girl misses a shot and the imaginary ball hits the back netting near THOMAS.

She runs over and picks up the ball, camera following her movements.

She glances at THOMAS with a shrug, as if to say: ‘I missed it – it happens to us all.’

She stands in the foreground, watched by THOMAS outside the netting.

Then she hurries away and THOMAS smiles: he is starting to enjoy the game.

Things are becoming more exciting as the players start alternating smashes and volleys.

The girl serves – camera follows the arc of the ball over the net to the boy, and then back; she returns with a high lob, and camera moves up and down to indicate its path.

The boy smashes it back.

Close-up of the girl playing a stoke.

The boy returns the shot.

She hits it back and the boy in the foreground starts to run backwards to return it.

In close-up the boy steps back a bit more and returns the ball with a smash.

Camera pans down as the girl stretches out to return it.

The girl runs backwards, grinning.

She has won a point.

The other students watch the exciting rally, waving and cheering, but still without making a sound.

We see the game form THOMAS’s end of the court.

He stands watching at the corner, leaning on the netting.

Suddenly the boy hits the ball so hard it goes right over the back netting and ends up on the grass outside.

The girl runs to the back of the court and she and THOMAS unconsciously raise their eyes and follow the flight of the ball.

Camera follows the imaginary arc of the ball as it hits the grass outside the court, rolls a little across the blank, empty green, and then stops.

The girl looks at THOMAS imploringly, begging him with her expression to go and pick up the ball.

As he hesitates and seems a little perplexed, she encourages him further by waving and gesturing with her hands.

At the far end of the court all the other students stand watching as he moves off, slowly at first.

The students look towards him expectantly, all leaning away from the netting and holding on with one hand.

THOMAS runs towards the point where everyone saw the non-existent ball hit the grass, some way from the court.

He drops his camera and bends down.

THOMAS picks up the imaginary ball, tosses it up and down in his hand two or three times, and then runs forwards and hurls it back into the tennis court, watching its path through the air with his eyes.

Then he stands watching the game again, his head moving imperceptibly in time with the movements of the ball.

He smiles again, ever so slightly.

He is earnest, inscrutable, concentrating on something which is not there.

He is very pale.

Really not so different from the white-faced strangers in the park.

And very slowly the shots themselves begin to be heard, above the rustling of the wind in the leaves, until they can be recognised as the typical sounds of a tennis ball hitting racquet strings.

One on this side, one on that side, one on this side, one on that side.

Toc, toc.

Toc, toc.

As the sounds become clear, THOMAS lowers his eyes.

Seen from high above, THOMAS is a tiny, solitary figure standing in a huge expanse of grass.

He is serious, worried.

He turns towards the right, then turns away and picks up his camera, glancing back in the direction of the tennis court.

Then he turns and faces it again.

Music comes in over.

But actually he is not looking at anything.

His eyes belong to someone who is following his own thoughts and is not sure if they are anguished or encouraging.

THOMAS is erased from the scene.

SCENE 49       SCENE 51