Yesterday started with a charming breakfast with Jem who's over from New York where he's been living for four years. He looks extraordinary; he's lost a load of weight and is radiating happiness and confidence. New York agrees with him. We spoke for some time about the musical theatre industry over there. The fact that it just works. There are countless opportunities for performers and a huge amount of investment in new musical theatre writing. There are scores of professional theatres in every State who only want to put on musicals. People genuinely care about the art form. It makes me weep when I think about what's going on over here by comparison. The Equity minimum for a performer on Broadway is $1900 a week (probably about £1300.) Over here it's about £500.
Nevertheless Jem says that the moment he touched down in London he realised how much he's missed living here. He mentioned how happy the accents make him feel, and how he'd forgotten how lovely it is to sit in a quiet train compartment. Not sure that's quite my own experience of British train travel, but I'll take any compliment about this country right now.
Anyway, aside from making me feel almost sick with envy, seeing Jem was an absolute buzz. I've missed him.
The last session of the technical rehearsal took place in the late morning and afternoon, and everything went slowly, but surely. I'm beginning to get a sense that we're sitting on something rather special and am excited to see how the cast respond to the energy of an audience. It feels rather odd to think that we're almost done now.
In the late morning I had an offer to attend the Jerusalem film festival next month, which feels like an incredibly good idea in the light of the fact that I'm presently working with Michael to try to pitch a film about Tel Aviv to Israeli producers. An hour later I'd impetuously booked a flight to Israel, knowing that you sometimes have to do these things straight away before the sensible part of your brain tells you what a silly idea it is because you're poor! I've obviously made the right decision as a series of meetings have already been fixed. Also: how exciting to go to Israel!
In the evening we were meant to have a dress rehearsal, but Hannah felt time would much better be spent running all of the numbers for sound. We have another dress this afternoon, and she rightly felt that it could be really demoralising if we had to keep ploughing on regardless, knowing that huge mistakes were happening that it would be almost impossible to fix without stopping and starting again. Her instincts were absolutely right and I left the rehearsal feeling much more upbeat about things. So much, in fact, that my legs started to feel a bit fizzy and I decided to walk all the way home. Across the Heath! It took an hour and a half. Nathan forced me to have a bath when I got home. I think I smelt a bit!