At the end of this month Saitama Theatre is hosting the Japanese leg of Peter Brook’s ‘A Magic Flute’ world tour, and so there is currently a lot of outreach work being conducted in relation to Brook’s philosophy and directorial style. Today’s event consisted of a screening of his 1989 epic ‘The Mahabharata’, at the French institute in Iidabashi (definitely not Itabashi, I checked, re-checked, and re-re-checked), which at three hours in length would have represented the absolute limit of my ability to sit still. I say sitting, but sadly the cinema was full, so I had to stand in the downstairs foyer, with about 50 other patrons, watching the screen of the cinema through a video feed. Hardly ideal conditions, but I soon found myself unwittingly smuggled back into the theatre, where I got to sit on a cushion and listen to an hour long interview with a random studio musician, in French and Japanese, the point of which I failed to even slightly comprehend. After the brief intermission that followed, I completely selfishly gave up my cushion on the floor of the theatre, and returned to the foyer to watch the film. This meant that I was able to sneak out of the institute early, before I had to be committed to one.
Because I am nothing if not a masochist, this evening I spent a further three hours trapped inside a confined space, this time at a theatre in Ebisu, watching TIP’s production of Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’. However, I am glad I did as it was excellent, superbly acted and with a very vivid direction. At any rate it was certainly far superior to the synopsis that I gave to Yuko throughout the performance, heaven only knows what play I was describing!