It's the evening before rehearsals start: and I'm nervous. I don't think I'll ever get used to this - the trepidation before plunging into a process. I always feel under-prepared, unsure of what we're actually going to do to make the thing happen, and convinced that I'll be "found out" as an incompetent charlatan. All of this will, of course, disappear the minute we start properly, and won't come back till opening night. But knowing this doesn't stop it.
I've gathered together loads of my books, videos, CDs and so on in research material, sorted out cheques to pay everybody, and realised that somehow a crucial CD from Shanghai has got lost and will have to be replaced. The leaflets and posters have arrived, looking stunning. It all feels ready to go.
Most crucially of all, Haili and Ieng Un are now in England. Haili got back on Thursday (no mean feat in itself, given the airport closures - lucky she lives in Manchester), after what sound to have been incredible picaresque adventures in the land of her birth. She was arrested by the Chinese police as a suspected spy...... somehow the British Embassy helped her get out of custody, but she still had a night journey on foot and slept in a stable..... I can't wait to hear more. At the moment she's driving down from Manchester to join Ieng Un in the Sidcup flat. He arrived on Friday. I'd spent the day driving a transit van, taking the set and props from the office to the rehearsal room. I then drove out to Heathrow, and took part in the disruption. It took two hours from his flight landing to the moment when I saw his face coming through. Finally got home at 11.30 - starving.
As Peter Sellars says on the phone from New York - it all goes to prove that this is the time when we should be doing intercultural theatre. So - here we go.