By February of 1990, we were exhausted: there had been four months of filming, to say nothing of the months of research that preceded this. But one event galvanized us all: Lillian Tighe, the last surviving postencephalitic from Beth Abraham, came to visit the set, where she would play herself in a scene with Bob. What would she think of the make-believe postencephalitics around her? Would the actors pass muster? There was a feeling of awe on the set as she entered; everyone recognized her from the documentary.
I wrote in my journal that night:
However much the actors immerse themselves, identify, they are merely playing the part of a patient; Lillian has to be one for the rest of her life. They can slip out of their roles, she cannot. How does she feel about this? (How do I feel about Robin playing me? A temporary role for him, but lifelong for me.)
As Bob in wheeled in and takes up the frozen, dystonic posture of Leonard L., Lillian T., herself frozen,cocks an alert and critical eye. Hoe does Bob, acting frozen, feel about Lillian, scarcely a yard away, actually so? And how does she, actually so, feel about him, acting so? She has just give me a wink, and a barely perceptible thumbs-up sign, meaning, "He's okay - he's got it! He really know what it's like."