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From Don’s Blackberry…

Morning is not a combo of instant Quaker oats (honey and maple and such) and instant coffee.
Since the hotel only caters to Chinese leaders and functions of the leaders, it is very Chinese in its menu
. This is always fine, except at breakfast. Their version of oatmeal would be congee but it just doesn’t give any strength to this still foreign lad.

Also in the Beijing supplies was my long missed dental floss. I could find none in inner Mongolia! The reason might be on the bottom of the floss package “made in Ireland.”
Or they just love tooth picks and there is no reason to change.

The moments after breakfast made me almost lose the breakfast. Got the call that at the ‘flying test’ for the brilliant young singer/actress/dancer Si Qi Ta Na, the cable broke. She was to be lifted up from the papa tree for about 30 seconds and the let down. They took her up about 12 feet and then she dropped. Feet, knees, and hand hitting first on the cement covered sand. She is on the way to hospital for first review before an arranged flight from the military airport to Beijing.

I watched the builders take great care to test and reinforce Mama’s swing on her tree. The steel was reinforced. The builder jumped up and down on it before the actress took her first swing. What happened? Maybe the builder didn’t listen when I said the Child Tree will be played by an adult. SiQi is the bright energy in the cast. We delight each other with both our attempts to speak the other language. She is the most pro-active performer who thrills at giving a director options that she makes up. I’m sick.

The morning rehearsal is a hodgepodge of fixes. Drudging through the morning with the cloud of the fall and waiting to hear about SiQi. At noon we do hear – there are no broken bones. She will stay in Erjina.

In the afternoon we get 2 run throughs of the show and the huge gaps are obvious. Still waiting for the Expo choreographer to do the Parade material. Still waiting for my real interpreter which is getting tense since there are now lighting, scenic, sound, costumes and props people to direct and my one translator/asst is like the great ancient black city being quickly covered by the sand dunes and disappearing in the challenge of each last minute, unforeseen (despite warnings) obstacles.

Like the one they were reminded of in our first night time rehearsal – it’s night! We can’t see backstage. Oh! And backstage is at least 300 yards behind the center tree and two sand dunes on left and right. Still we get through our first night rehearsal.

And at the end of night we hear SiQi has badly strained ligaments and tendons and muscle tissue. She will stay at the local hospital and rest. The last thing I brought myself to do was go to the rig and see what happened. The wire was crazily thin. No one considered the weight load or the standard multiple weight load when lifting a person. The assistant to the scenic guy just said he wanted it not to be seen.