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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thu 9/30 - Alashan, Inner Mongolia, China

We have a go to create a show and a theater in 15 days (sept 13-27) from the government in the district of Erjina, in the county of Alashan of the Inner Mongolian autonomous region of China. Everyone recognizes the task as impossible, but if the local government of this little town can give us a theater we will give them a show. We start with an concept of 3 trees, telling 3 stories about the life and history of the local culture. We have 4 tunes from an Inner Mongolian composer. We have a story outline from a writer. We must assemble cast, design, vendors etc and except for local dancers, animal trainers and crew, everything and everybody have to drive for 2 days from Hohhut, or in best cast fly to Wuhai and then drive 10 hours across the desert to get here. No plane. No train.

We begin.

With no cast selected, I ask to train the animals first.

I am told that we don't want silly costumes. We should have authentic Teurhute tribe costumes and there are some people that can show me the right costume. I am waiting to see the costumes and "The Girls" start singing the old folk song. I don't know if I was set up or not, but they are now in the show! It's the real deal.

(sorry that this posting is out of sequence with the others)

I meet all the local performers looking for what talents to use. This man plays a Mongolian banjo, but adds a string to his strumming hand so that the little deer puppet jumps up and down creating a percussive tap with his dangling legs. Charming and a unique instrument of the tribe that many use with their favorite animal carved to dance.

Trucks come into the sand - and get stuck! A road is needed!

Of course there are many banquets, and YY is the producer on the left who just had the honor of eating the sheep's eye dug out of the head.

Music is taught-the chinese way. These singers/dancers are mongolian and do not read 5 line staffs. The numbers represent solfegio. The lines represent note duration, the comma represent which octave the tone is in.

Papa Tree gets a stage around him!

Pipe is brought in to build the light towers and tons of new sand rake the audience seating area.

A road actually starts to take shape, but trucks are still getting stuck!

The gear arrives!!!

There can be no mongolian show with out the mongolian horse.

And a 100 year old + yurt that I confound all, when I ask that it be set up and torn down everynight as part of the show.Alhtough all said it could not be done, eventually 16 retired old volunteers from the culture / propaganda department will set it up in 6 minutes.

Finally lights hit stage under a full moon at mid autumn festival night in China.

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