More moving around of dates. Riverside are also considering a Chinese production of Ibsen's Master Builder, which has lots of intriguing overlaps, but as yet no money. Still in the air on dates, then. The likeliest dates (in September) work pretty well for most people, though not for Peter Kenny, who was Julian in Orientations, and who I would love to play the role again. It would feel very odd without him. Zhang Ruihong has a performance in Hangzhou on August 18th, so would have to fly after that. That's OK, I think. Meijing (my link while Haili is travelling in Tibet) emails to say Mr. You is "concerned" that there's no contract yet. I ask if this means they've got permission and a passport - I suppose the contract will be just a version of the invitation letter, which had everything in it. There's a lot of bureaucracy! Meijing gives me a mental note that as well as dealing with Zhang Ruihong we must also keep the channels of communication open with the company. Haili gets back tomorrow, so hopefully it will all be easier.
Also, I'll have more time, as Nixon in China will open tomorrow night. Peter Sellars arrives for the last few rehearsals on stage, and expresses delight with what we've done ("This show is in places it has NEVER been, Michael".) Although he does very little (it's all kind of been done), his presence is very valuable in the process. The quality of his watching and listening is an object lesson to a director.
Peter and I go out for "a lunch experience" as he calls it, and I ask his advice about the work we're doing. He's hugely excited about the collaboration with SYT and Zhang Ruihong, whom he also thinks is the best xiaosheng in the business. (He knows her, of course: Peter seems to know everybody who is talented in every genre across the whole world). He's also very positive about the Ghana idea: and tells me I have to go to find anybody I need. I'd been wondering if it was better to cancel, given the time scale of the show - but now I feel I have to go for about ten days, otherwise next year disappears in the glare of this one. Particularly since there's now another Nixon next spring - in Athens.
Peter seems so genuinely positive that (with some trepidation) I ask him if he would be Patron of Border Crossings, and he says yes at once. What's more, he will be an active Patron, writing short articles to expand on and help the cause. This will be a huge boost to prestige, and that's what we need right now. Visibility. The work is good - but people need to know that it's good. An endorsement like this does the job. Thank you, Peter.....