Travel to a country at war III

Donderdag 30-03-2023, Odessa.

In the basement of the theatre there is an air raid shelter. Can accommodate exactly a thousand people. Useful on a day like today with two air raid alarms. The roaring signal obliges the theatre staff to dive into the bunker immediately. The deputy director of the theatre told me yesterday that a musical theatre performance will soon be performed in the same bomb shelter.

From the morning I also work undisturbed on a notebook in my hotel room during the distress signal on the production tasks that an impresariat entails. I would have preferred that time to be able to rehearse the choreography. After the last siren, I have breakfast in a café and study a wall of political posters. At that point, no more alarms.

On the street, a flutist plays the same tune over and over again. There is a palpable tension in the air. Even if it seems the opposite when you see Odessites strolling outside in the spring sun. Around the theater and around the corner, Deribasovskaya Street. Or the Kalverstraat or the Oxford Street of Odessa. Named after the Spanish officer in Russian service who captured Odessa from the Turks. You can rent a pony to let your child chat from one side to the other over the cobblestones of the street. A few cartoon characters sell hot air balloons and the bright sunlight attracts a lot of people into the street. The terraces fill up. A little money is made.

In the afternoon a coffee with the director of the Schouwburg before the rehearsals take place. About the war. About confirming our sustainable cooperation, exchanging plans for the future. And the request if I would like to be an artistic associate of the theater. Just before Covid-19, Carmina Burana premiered in Odessa. Its creation also suffered from a chronic lack of rehearsal time. A different approach than traditional classical requires more attention.

The evening in Odessa center is very quiet. Tomorrow a rehearsal with the choir. To be continued.