WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – By day 3, when he was confined to his Australian hotel room for quarantine, David Marriott drove himself. He had seen a few seasons with “The Sopranos,” and his eyes got tired of reading.
Then his lunch arrived in a bowl of brown paper and he thought “Aha. It’s a hat waiting to happen. ”
Paper cowboy was born.
Using good-quality paper bags, his food was delivered every day, and Marriott, an art director on television commercials, began shaping an outfit. He added a fringe to the hat, and then came the vest and chaps. Next? A horse, of course.
He found an ironing board in his closet and tied on a table lamp to his neck and head, creating a skeleton. Coffee pods became eyes and nostrils. He named the horse Russell after an old father̵
The creative world Marriott created within his hotel room in Brisbane became more intricate for the day as he added plot lines in video clips he posted online. Clingfilm Kid became the villain, out to steal Russell while he slept.
Like Wilson from the movie “Castaway,” Marriott says Russell can be a sound card, too.
“It’s an existential conversation, quite philosophical,” he says. Like, why are we here? What are we doing?”
And he has given Rydge’s hotel staff a laugh by asking Russell to take him for walks.
“It has encouraged everyone,” he said. “The hotel staff, they are hospitable, but they have all these guests that they cannot see or interact with.”
The story behind Marriott’s quarantine stay is more sober. His father Harry fell in his home in London and was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery and began rehabilitation. But then he caught the coronavirus.
“I was really lucky that my mom and sisters were there and were allowed to see him,” Marriott said. “I wanted to zoom in with him at 3 o’clock. Seeing him get worse was heartbreaking. But I was able to say goodbye and create peace. ”
Marriott flew over from Australia for the funeral in what he says was a gloomy trip. Like other Australians returning home, he was required to quarantine at a hotel for two weeks.
Marriott said he’s been making props all his life. Even when he was a child, he used to get in trouble for breaking his father’s tools.
Because quarantine guests are considered potentially contagious, their food is delivered in disposable containers and plates that are discarded rather than recycled, which Marriott found a bit shaky. But he said he has hardly thrown anything out since the stay began and he has only needed to order a few extras like tape and adhesive tape.
And when he leaves on Saturday, he hopes to take Russell and his other creations with him. He said there had been interest from a film center wanting Russell in an art exhibition.
“He’s a little superstar now,” Marriott said.
After all, he can just fold up Russell and pop him in his bag.