"They were right here?" I asked.
"Yes," he said, 'right here in the heart of the building.'
I was in the Scottish Youth center talking to the fellow who managed the rooms. He's an older guy who takes great pride in the building. He has just told me that the room I am presenting in is the formal jail attached to the court building. Even though the building is renovated and there are no traces left of cells and shackles, there is still the chill damp air that lets you know you are in a basement room. Looking up you can see walkways where guards would have strolled to keep an eye on you below.
The day began and at one point someone said something very funny and the whole audience was laughing. There were marvelous accoustics in the room and the laughter bounced off the walls around us. Changing the chemistry of the brick, laughter is the alchemists dream as it can turn grisly memories comedic gold dirt. 'Comedy is tragedy plus time,' Carol Burnett is quoted as saying.
Over the day I began to think of the room as less of a renovated jail and as more of a theatre for youth. I think because here in the beating heart of the building were people learning, laughing and expressing hope.
Buildings, like people, need their heart changed before renovation is complete.