Tuesday, June 06, 2006

This Blogger Half-Naked...

While trolling for links related to my brother Burnes for my last post I stumbled upon these photos of me half naked.

Yes. Only on the Internet. Half-naked, that's right. But before you get too excited you might want to know that I was only a kid and chubby too. So there you go...half-bare but hardly buff. In these pix I'm standing on the beach holding the conch shell that was given to me by a family friend, a fisherman named Manuel, who took us out on his sail-powered fishing boat from Fajardo Puerto Rico, on weekends.

The conch was used in Peter Brook's film Lord of the Flies, a family affair. My father served as director of photography while my brother played the role of Douglas and my mother was casting director and shot movie stills. Unfortunately I only got to play a stand in for Piggy in a test filmed by my father at the beach at the end of our street in Puerto Rico before the film began.

As I was chubby, I eminently suitable to play this part. Running down the beach with my brother I acted out the scene where Piggy discovers the conch shell and then blows it like a horn. Manuel had cut the tip off this shell for me with a hacksaw one time while we were sailing to Icacos, a reef-like islet just off Fajardo.

My father, a still photographer and early cross-media maven had never touched a movie camera before shooting this epic film. Peter Brook gave him nine days to learn. Hence these tests along the beach. In a future post for Father's Day I'll show you the ingenious track my father devised for filming on the beach and a swinging gate that panned with actors's movement.

You can read a synopsis of the scene I am acting out in these pix. In Golding's book it is called " The Sound of the Shell." Or click here to hear Alan Cheuse in NPR's All Things Considered, March 29, 2004 edition,
...review William Golding's Lord of the Flies, 50 years after its first publication. Cheuse says this harrowing tale of a group of schoolboys stranded on a remote tropical island still holds up today.

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