Tony D'Arpino

Scenes from Life and Death as an Extra


Part One


New Worlds


An actor speaks his lines to me,

(I’m dead in the dry moat of Berkeley Castle):

“Lay back down, young fella.”


OS: Oh, hey, he’s not really young.

Script change approved for Take 2:

“Lay back down, old fella.”




The new nurse blocks me

Just as the helicopter crashes

Into the hospital emergency entrance


Dr Who [for Dr Capaldi]


The medieval gates open

In the fog of smoke machines

A Sherman tank rumbles in


Dr Who on top playing electric guitar

Heavy metal version of the theme music

He’s looking for an axe fight


(Time machine joke)


His Dark Materials


The whale butcher,

Apron, gloves, and knife covered in blood,

Accidentally kills the Assistant Director.




I’m not a leper,

But I play one on TV.


The Hollow Crown


We’re watching a tennis match

Between the King and his other brother

In the courtyard of Lacock Abbey

(Where photography was discovered).

The Duke of Gloucester (soon to be Richard III

But really Benedict Cumberbatch)

Turns to me and asks,

“Would you like a biscuit?”




I’m with Hercules in a tavern.

He is gambling with some soldiers.

Everyone is drunk and Hercules is losing.

Suddenly, an earthquake. As the dust settles,

Hercules helps me up.

I’m still holding the wine cup.

Director loves it. Second take and done.



Part Two (Day)


The Spanish Princess (also Part Two)


It’s a wrap. A book burning, actually. On the east lawn of the castle a huge bonfire of prop books dramatically controlled by dark artists wearing teeshirts:


I’m the Pyro Guy

If you see me


Try to keep up


Six months in the dungeons of Warwick, Caerphilly, and Berkeley Castles, finally I’m back as a nobleman. At the wrap I’m hugged by a young Henry VIII. Unwise since lockdown begins a week later.