Today we ran the play twice. This because I think it needs running in and also because the cast, unusually, wanted it. Why do I always forget how exhausting run-throughs are? Naively I tend to think beforehand that it will be a welcome occasion for me to sit back a bit and if not relax at least take the wide view. Instead it has all the draining power of being at an exhibition for two and a half hours. An exhibition, moreover, upon which you will be judged. Very shortly.In fact it was all ok. I tried to encourage the company to stop being quite so conscientious about playing the notes and to start listening to each other; actually asking the questions; actually answering them; actually saying what you are saying. They did it well. At the first run, as is a habit here, there were most of the actors' agents in. A horrifying thought in London. Of course I didn't object here as I didn't know who they were. They behaved well of course.The second run was ok too. We are on course for something rich and expansively staged. What the audience here will make of it is I suppose not really my concern in a way. Apparently it hasn't gone well on Broadway and may well close shortly.The company were briefed on the technical rehearsal schedule at the end of the day. They are not used here to the hours of repetition and standing around which a European tech involves. They took it rather well. I said it was because I believed in the theatre as a figurative art, not something contrived on the back of an envelope.
After posting this morning's rather morbid reflections I went to Ueno Park to the Tokyo National Museum. I looked at the permanent exhibition which is a wonderfully concise tour of the entire history of Japanese art and design starting 10000 years BC. The objects there are amongst the most enchanting I have ever seen. The sculpture and ceramics especially sculptures of tits and cocks.Then there was a special exhibition: National Treasures of the Toshodaiji Temple. This primarily featured two buddhas - Ganjinwajo and Vairocana. Ganjinwajo the most beautiful and refined object; Vairocana bigger and more splendid. Vairocana also looks rather forbidding and unimpressed with the people milling about him.The whole trip cheered me up no end. It was good just to get out of my routine. And to get some fresh air. I'm sure my wayward moods must be a worry to the people I'm working with. And if they are reading this it can't be helping! All I can say is that this is the first major rehearsal period when I've been keeping this diary and that I've been happier and more emotionally stable doing this work than I have been for many a production. And given the size of the venture, it's amazing that my producers aren't more anxiously interfering, for which I am grateful. I'm taking it as a sign of confidence in what's happening.