I plough on with arranging the tour for Dilemma. Lots of positive noises on the financial front, though nothing totally solid as yet. I'm hoping to get some hard cash behind it soon, so that we can wave it at the Arts Council and avoid the problem of the last application! Although the application is in, the discussions with venues are ongoing, and not always easy. One venue emails to say there have been internal confusions, and the key person didn't actually know our show had been booked - which is a nice way of saying it isn't booked any more. On the phone - trying to plug a gap in the tour.
We announce the next set of Laboratory workshops, with Sam Cook, Hone Kouka and Miria George, and Denise and Michael from A Fleur de Peau. The response is very encouraging - lots of bookings straight away. What's really nice about this programme is the way in which the first two workshops should lay some foundations for the Origins Festival. I've carried on touting this around the Embassies these last few days - meeting Cultural representatives at New Zealand House (the best view of London I've ever seen is from its penthouse) and Canada House. There's the usual litany of "We have no money", but at least these people are good at pointing us towards those who do. The Australia Council emails this morning with the offer of funds to take me to the Festival of the Dreaming next month. The perfect place to talent scout indigenous artists.
I went last week to see Satyagraha at ENO. A strange night for me. I really ought to have liked it, and I expected to. There was so much in it which felt very like my own work. Minimalist music - Philip Glass isn't John Adams, but his way of setting voices really reminds me of Paul Howard-Jones's scores for several of our productions, especially since Paul loves to work with made-up language, and this was in Sanskrit (which isn't made-up, but sounds it). A corrugated iron wall with flying panels - just like our Mauritian Macbeth. Projections of proverbial texts, and projection used to frame figures in little rooms - like the Magic Flute I did with Will Hargreaves and Mark Doubleday in Stowe years ago. And above all the sense that this was a piece which was taking the audience into a meditational space: that holy quality in the theatre which we strive for in our productions.
So - why did I find myself disliking this production? After a week, I'm beginning to feel it was because it was all too easy. The text comes from the Gita, and the opening is clearly intended to suggest a parallel between Gandhi and Arjuna - but that correspondence is not justified or pursued within the piece. The Gita works because Arjuna is in crisis, and his crisis is over (wait for it) the fact that he is going to use violence. Whereas Gandhi's campaigns are about non-violence. And there is no sense in the piece that he, or anybody else, is in any sort of crisis about anything. Be good, don't fight, peace, love.... Until at the end the Chorus is projected on a cloud raising hands in blessing. Yes really - a heavenly chorus. It's too easy - too sure of itself - too smug. And, as a piece about de-colonisation sitting in the newly renovated triumphalist auditorium of that Edwardian theatre, it really cannot afford to be smug. Sorry.