So as the performance time draws nearer (now about two weeks away) our rehearsals have gotten much more intense. We are practicing both Saturdays and Sundays and missed school on both Monday and Tuesday to practice at the actual theater. The Bao Li theater is massive and is well-known in Beijing. This is a very legit performance. The stage has a huge screen in the back center with two large ones on both sides. The stage is enormous and there are a wide range of lighting options as well as a fog machine. I want a spot light for when I say my lines. Everyone who speaks gets cool microphones that rap around your head. The costumes are very intense as well as the props. For example the calligraphy dance has kids dressed as in full body skin tight white suits with ink splotches on them. In another dance kids dressed in all black body suits hold up large boxes with letters on them that look like keys on a keyboard. The elaborate costumes and effects really make this performance. Anyway, on Monday we were allowed to get to the theater at 5 and ended up staying until about 11. We were given heavy makeup and then were shown to the dining hall to eat dinner. Everyone had on make up and it felt very strange. The Jingshan school takes pride in their great volleyball team and as part of their 50th anniversary celebration they decided to include the team in one of the dances. With the team drawn into many of the rehearsals they too ended up spending the day at the theater and getting makeup (along with ridiculous clown-like yellow and purple volleyball uniforms). We ended up practicing at the very end past when most of the kids had left so it was a little annoying to be waiting for so long for no reason (but this seems to happen a lot in these rehearsals). On Tuesday we all felt like we were going crazy, sitting in a dressing room for 13 hours with nothing but artificial lights and mirrors everywhere. We played about five hours of cards, doodled and played charades. Somehow we all survived. I only saw the sun briefly and fresh air, even China fresh air (which is polluted with cigarette smoke and smog) was coveted. It was boring but also a little fun. For some reason it also was exhausting.