Friday, May 14, 2010


I watched Sarah Ruhl's play Eurydice at the Young Vic last night. I found it whimsical, charming and magical... though I am not in agreement with many of the critics, it has to be said. Maybe I just enjoyed it because it was the first thing I've seen in six weeks which wasn't directed by me.... but I suspect it's more to do with the playfulness of this American writer's voice, and her daring interweaving of mythic and dream-like material with something close to aspects of American social reality. Magical realism, or something approaching it, is, after all, what I enjoy doing in the theatre. The inter-penetration of different worlds, of complex visible and invisible realities. You don't get much more invisible than the realm of the dead - or closer to our emotional heart.

Ling Skypes me from Beijing. She's working with a company that wants to do Brecht's Good Soul of Szechuan at the National Theatre, and she wants me to advise on the production. It opens the week before Re-Orientations is due to hit Shanghai - which could oddly work quite well if they want me just before the opening and at the start of the (lengthy) rehearsal period. It would be interesting to colour the rehearsals with some immediate experience of China again. And perhaps pick up the odd prop and costume item....

Long chat with Nick Moran about the technical side of the show. We need to find ways of integrating the lighting - which Nick is keen should not be set ahead of the performances, but should have an improvised element like the rest of the show - with the very solid pre-recorded elements of video and sound. Except, of course, that some of the video and sound is live too. Hmm.

The board met on Tuesday. Very pleased that Martin Bloom will be joining us. He's currently in China, having rather more commercial board meetings! We discuss the effects of the election on funding for us. It's clear that the cuts are not going to miss out the arts budget.... in fact, our current record on applications suggests that the economic situation is already biting very hard. Emma rightly says that the only way in the new climate is to build relationships with business and individual donors - which is the American model. But how????