The photograph is from that rehearsal, taken from a seat just behind Louis. The stage in the background is washed in blues, reds, pinks, yellows, beams of light pouring from all different angles, crossing over each other at random. The spotlight is off, so the bodies on the stage are almost just silhouettes in motion. There’s the whip of a skirt caught in mid-turn, a tall figure with its arms extended, two shapes bent toward each other at stage left. Behind them, the skeleton of the set makes sharp lines and broken shapes against the white backdrop.
In the foreground is Louis, just a sliver of his face as seen from behind, the light catching on the top of his cheekbone and the ends of his hair. His hands are in the air in front of him, gesturing as he explains something to one of the actors, and he can see ink stains on his knuckles. He can see for the first time the way he looks when he’s directing, the set of his shoulders, the hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth.
It’s his kids, his work, distilled into an image and made beautiful. And Harry did it.
He looks down at the table because he really, really needs to look at anything that is not this picture right now, and his eyes fall on a tiny piece of paper. It must have slid out with the print without him noticing it. He can see Harry’s handwriting on it.
So you don’t forget what you look like to the rest of us
Happy birthday!!! xxx Haz