Synopsis - Ten Glorious Seconds
Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative and terminal disease for which there is no known cure - and ALBERT has it.
He’s in the last stages when all human behaviour becomes automatic, and the use of language has been lost altogether.
Occasionally patients receive and return emotional signals long after the loss of verbal language and Albert’s story builds towards one such moment.
TEN GLORIOUS SECONDS explores the lives of Albert and his wife JOSIE as we follow his struggle through the intimacy of voice-over and her hurt and anguish.
Each day Josie visits Albert, desperately searching his face for signs of recognition. She brings old photos and talks to him of their life together, but he’s only ever interested in the big bag of sweets she hands over.
Albert’s memories play out on a constant loop from childhood through adolescence to adulthood and back, but each time with a slight variant. The audience becomes voyeurs as Albert searches back and forth across the years for something that neither he nor we can yet define.
Listening to his voice-overs we recognise that he is trying to find something, but this contrasts with his visual memories. Happy childhood days chasing through fields, throwing stones in the river and playing conkers suddenly invert; and he’s a soldier being hunted through fields; the eye of a dead fish changes into the eye of a dead man; and his winning conker is crushed by an army on the march.
Each recollection is vividly detailed with the exception of the ‘woman’ of his memories: the little girl on her swing with her back to him; the young woman across the river with her face in shadow; the wife in the field with the sun at her back.
Every day Josie attempts to break through the cocoon of Albert’s illness which is keeping her out. A practical woman, she cajoles, prompts and tempts him into remembering something of their life together.
As the pace develops and his memory quickens, we begin to understand that the clarity of the woman’s face could be key to opening the right door into his brain.
Josie is aware that time is running out for him and for them, and as her daily visits progress so her vulnerability, hurt and desperation becomes more apparent. What she does and says to him appears to have little impact; but as voyeurs into his mind we see that it triggers a merging desperation in his memory.
We understand that Albert is everything to Josie; but what is Josie to Albert? We finally bear witness to the painful intensity which is their love as their parallel lives merge for just 10 glorious seconds.