China Report: Performance Day in Yangzhou

December 31, 2007 at 5:35 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Yangzhou - photo: Andy Waddington

The day started well with coaches from the hotel for Technicians and Dancers if they wanted but most people walked.

On arrival at 9am the smell of urine from the toilets was truly awful in the back corridor. The heating was turned on at 10.30 and by 11.30 the whole place was pleasantly warm. Class went smoothly. Air fresheners were purchased and liberally spread around the toilets. The sweet smell of ALL JOY filled the corridor and kind of masked the awful smell.

Then it was discovered that the performance tonight was sponsored by the local TV Company. They wanted to record the whole performance. They started bringing in the cables and equipment in the middle of the Technical Rehearsal and in the end we locked them out so Paul Mansfield could see the lighting states on stage without swathes of daylight coming from the open doorway.

Apparently the government own all the TV companies and according to Young, our Promoter, who is as surprised by this as anyone, the big man in the area was coming to see the performance this evening and had instructed the TV company to film it. Young said it would cause huge problems with the government if we say no. We stood our ground and did say No. There followed further heated moments but eventually a compromise was found and we agreed that they could film the audience arriving and the curtain call but none of the performance. Technical Director, Andy Waddington spent the performance sat next to the recording system. The TV Company were told that no cameramen would be allowed in the theatre until the blackout at the end of the performance and then only with handheld cameras. It was made very clear that the performance would be stopped if any filming was attempted. Andy has extensive TV knowledge so there was no chance of anything getting past him.

The coldest room in the theatre was the lighting box where Paul had to wrap up in jumpers and coats. It was 3 or 4 degrees in the box but step through the door and it was 22 degrees. Very baffling.

Today was the last time we will be seeing the Hangzhou Orchestra and we thank them for their efforts. It certainly wasn’t the easiest night’s work for Assistant Music Director, Nigel Gaynor.

The performance went very well. It was Pippa Moore as Butterfly partnered with Chris Hinton Lewis as Pinkerton. They danced extremely well in front of a full house. Trouble was nearly 31/2 foot tall – which is rather large for a 3 year old!

The get out went well starting at 9.45pm and finished at 11.30pm then everybody went back to the hotel for drinks on the 28th floor bar to join the rest of the company drinking and toasting.

Happy New Year to all our readers

Nanjing - photo: Andy Waddington

Tech Rehersal - photo: Andy Waddington

Class - photo: Andy Waddington

Trailers - photo: Andy Waddington

Yangzhou Grand Theatre - photo: Andy Waddington

Yangzhou Grand Theatre lobby - photo: Andy Waddington

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China Report: 30 December from Nathalie Leger’s Perspective

December 31, 2007 at 5:27 pm (Artist's News, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

This was our travelling day from Nanjing to Yangzhou. The coaches took twice as long as they were supposed to but after three weeks we are getting use to it. There always seems to be accidents or busy roads.

So welcome to Yangzhou and another New Century Hotel. Yangzhou is a small city, well for China, 4.5 million people in big development, clean and kind of modern. Visit the city centre and is very busy, noisy, colourful and full of life. Thousands of lights almost hitting you. Then a look around the hotel and the theatre and then we end up in an indoor market. So picturesque. Lots of fruit looking lovely. For 5 bananas it costs 30p.

Then meeting Pippa on the market street we feel we may go for a swim and a sauna. The advert in the hotel looked gorgeous. A proper treatment for body and head at the swimming pool on the third floor. We never found it. Unlucky. It has been this way at every hotel. The treatments do not exist.

Might be more lucky with The Deluxe Sauna. Not lying that is the name of it. Off we go happy and smiley. It took 10 good minutes to wander down the labyrinth ending up in another part of the hotel entrance. Very basic. A woman escorted us to the changing room and I found a locker that I made sure was locked well. She then gave us some plastic slippers which was good because hygiene is not at all good. One big room with 10 showers all open so naked women and babies in plastic baskets, scrubbing, massaging strongly, washing each other and making bath to their children in baskets! Fabulous. we are right there in the intimate life of these women. Never will experience that in my life again. Sauna a tiny room, dark and warm where everyone comes and goes just to put their panties, socks or bras to dry out! Incredible!! From our spot inside the sauna we can look out without being seen!! The life continues…a mother is peeling an apple with her teeth and giving it to her child. Never tell me that Chinese people are dirty! Probably much more clean than European people. They take care of there skin and hair so much. But are these people who are staying at the hotel or do they not have showers at their home? Sad thinking. We are now getting so warm sweating the pollution from our bodies. Feeling good. Now showertime. This is a bit more difficult as they do not want to give us a shower but finally one of them does. Thank you so much. Our locker is OPEN but everything is there even the money.

And finally going back to the room we think that we had a really amazing, Unforgettable moment there feeling almost, really almost, part of them. Thank you to them.

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