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From Don’s Blackberry…

And now my key translator is on a bus in the desert. The other english speakers in senior management were recouping from hangovers from their welcome party.

There’s no car to pick me up and so the county leader who greets the guests every morning outside the government hotel watched me walk out the drive looking for a car again.

8:15am – Nothing is happenning. Half of the staff have not arrived, including the music director and asst who were to choreograph the ‘Construction Dance.’ I choreograph. Ha!

The new choreographer is not to come until tomorrow to help. The leader’s son came at 9am, and, wow, pitched right in. Ok, he may work out! Oh, and he gets things done because he is THE leader’s son! That’s a lesson.

We do Act 1 and 2 run thrus. All raw music – like pop songs. No timing for talks, entrances, internal dialogue. Did I say that every 2 min or so a horrible grating buzz comes through the rehearsal room speakers? They point to the power lines outside and then shrug their shoulders. Nothing we can do. Mmm. Electromagnetic radiation? What are the codes here?

Taxi to theater site. More towers up, stage floor, sand filled in. More sand for more audience. Lots of dead trees in the last 3000 years for site decor. A power line
. Green fence perimeter going up. Sheep pen built. Road work continues to refine and the cement on sand. That may work too!

Taxi man saw me take these set photos, so, deciding that I was a tourist, drove me back to studio past the 2 other monuments to take photos. So proud. He didn’t say a word. Sweet.

Haha. We don’t have a choreographer! This – well you gotta watch us try just so you know.

We patched together Act 3 and found a guy to edit the music. Wow, especially good since I heard today that the composer may come…on opening night! The lyricist is calling in the instructions that he wants. Two more songs arrive today, with still one missing.

From 3pm to 5pm we rehearse the vocal solos. The accompanist is fresh out of the Beijing Music Conservatory, and asked if I thought the lead man’s solo was good enough. I said something innocuous. She said GOOD – I wrote it! What?? “Keming the lyricist/writer asked me to write it this morning. It’s mine!”

A happy camper!

Break at 5:30pm and walk long blocks to cafe….we are sitting in empty cafe for 90 minutes waiting for food! I edit the script….and then 7 days before first show – just off the bus comes the Choreographer! She is from Alashan – the county that Erjina is in. I find that the local choreographer is a student of hers. That’s comforting – we traded up. She has not seen a musical but has seen dvds of ballets. I am sure she is phenomenal at mongolian.

The local dancers and singers left at 3pm for their government show tonite.

Of course at 7:08pm I am invited to the very important 8pm show. It is in THE theater of the town built into the new government building in the new section of the city….as in every city…the new government district.

It is a classic party cultural event. The back 3 rows are filled with soldiers an hour before the show to fill up the theater. The first 4 rows have a table with flowers and fruit for the county leaders. The show is subtitled “The Gala Performance for the Communication Experience Relating to the Party’s Organization.” So I suspect we are waiting for the leaders to come from the conference dinner. The official title is “september open sing.” This is what a small town performance company does. Shows for leaders and the shows for the people…traveling around the country and giving shows…or as the head leader from erjina said “instructing in the party’s messages.”

Show time!