(Joanna Moorhead’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/19.)
In 2009, the year before he died, the actor and playwright Corin Redgrave came up with what he thought was a brilliant plot idea. His new play would focus on a man who has brain damage as the result of a heart attack, and who later admits to his wife that he has no memories whatsoever of their 20-plus years of marriage. For all he knows, she might be an imposter and the stories she has told him of their life together might have been made up.
Redgrave never did write that play. Instead he lived it – was living it, in fact, when he had the idea with his wife, Kika Markham, that he might fictionalise their own desperate situation. Kika remembers the devastation she felt on the day Corin admitted that his heart attack, while making a speech at a rally to fight the Dale Farm travellers’ eviction in 2005, had left her husband with a big black hole where the story of their life together should have been. In a therapy session, the doctor asked Corin what he remembered of the past. “I know we were happy,” he said. “And I know I loved Kika, but I can’t remember our life together.”