Everyone probably thinks you’ll be playing the role.

Kafuku has a casting problem. He’s pleased with the auditions, but there’s a major hole — few auditioned for the lead … and given that he recently played Vanya on stage in Tokyo, it’s no great leap for anyone to assume that he will be playing him again.

There’s another factor at work here as well. Kafuku is so identified with Vanya now, it’s intimidating for another actor to take it on under his direction. Imagine trying out for Hamlet with Laurence Olivier directing the production. It would be terrifying.

Kafuku has been assuming all along that he wasn’t going to take the role this time, but he also knows that he has this daily ritual of listening to Oto’s tape and reading Vanya’s lines. He’s ready to step in at any moment. So he has to fight the instinct to just jump in.

By the way, I have to mention that I was wrong about Kafuku wearing black in every scene. He’s in a navy blue suit with a grey sweater in this one. I stand corrected.

Kafuku leaves after a long day of work, Watari is waiting for him, reading on a bench. He apologizes, she offers no complaint. I love this about her — she never has a complaint. She knows her job and she does it professionally. Without saying a word, you know that Kafuku admires her for this.

I also want to point out here that we are now more than an hour into the film and the primary relationship of the story is still largely silent and awkward.

They drive home in that silence. We, of course, do not see the full ride home, so we don’t know if the tape ever comes up during the drive, but its absence is telling. Kafuku is coming to terms with choosing someone else for his role.

Now it’s the next morning and the cast is assembled in the office. Everyone in the room has passed their audition and will have a role in the play, but they are advised that they might be cast in different roles than they tried out for … it will be up to them to decide if they want to sign their contract and accept.

Yelena goes to Janice Chang, and she looks elated. (Have to say it again — I‘m really looking forward to seeing Sonia Yuan in another film soon, she is lovely.) Sonia goes to Lee Yoon-A, and she looks unsurprised. We find out soon that her husband is actually Kafuku’s assistant — a relationship he kept secret from Kafuku — so perhaps she already knew. Takatsuki looks shocked to hear that he has been assigned Vanya.

He mentions the age gap. Kafuku is unfazed and says he’ll wear makeup … then adds that he is free to turn down the role. Janice Chang then gives Takatsuki a big congratulations. It seems rather flirty, to be honest, so when Takatsuki then signs, perhaps he’s prioritizing his next sex partner. We’ll soon find out, by the way, that Takatsuki has a highly compulsive sex drive.

I’ll pick up tomorrow with the first script reading, and will end with this — it’s not easy for Kafuku to pass on the role of Vanya, but he also understand the heavy emotional toll this role can take. He also must know that it’s going to be a massive challenge for Takatsuki to pull this off. It almost feels like an act of sadism to make him try.