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Giorgio was our Lighting Man. Ah well, he was much more than that. He was a pillar of the Company – had been for five decades. Head Electrician, administrator, Council member, computer wizard, box-office man, prop supervisor… there was little in the day-to-day running of the Company and the Tiny Theatre where Giorgio didn’t have a hand…

You’d be forgiven for thinking he lived in the Tiny Theatre. He knew every square inch of the place and its technical workings – after all he’d personally built and wired most of the electrical system and equipment. And whatever you wanted to put on the stage – a high-backed armchair, an old black telephone, a hedge, a stuffed turkey – you asked Giorgio, and he would know.

Giorgio also made the most delicious sugolo, Mantua’s traditional grape juice pudding. He told the theatre’s best ghost story. He was stubborn as a mule – and could be fiercely confrontational – although never with me. In fact, he’d adopted me from the day the Company began to stage my work. He made gentle fun of my propensity for lateness. He delighted in telling me stories of the Company’s life and adventures… “You must write a book,” he’d say. He was endlessly patient in explaining why some fussy lighting notion I’d dreamed up would not, could not work, and in coming up with an alternative. He’d promised to teach me the mysteries of the lighting board… Only we never began on that – and now never will.

Giorgio was lost to the Coronavirus the day before yesterday – the first victim among “my” people. We are all devastated. The Company and the Tiny Theatre will never be the same again without him – and this truly drove home the dreadful, cold fact that things will never just go back to what they were before.

In the world in general, as well as for us – for the Company, for the TT, where an era has just ended, together with our dear, stubborn, kind, rigorous, beloved Lighting Man.

Black Out.