Home Economic Times Ukrainian theater’s new drama? Making dumplings for troopers

Ukrainian theater’s new drama? Making dumplings for troopers

Ukrainian theater’s new drama? Making dumplings for troopers

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The theater was empty. The seats have been lined towards mud. But it surely was a second of drama that Alla Shkondina had ready for all her life.

“There’s a saying that when the weapons sound, the muses are silent,” the Ukrainian actress mentioned, standing on the naked stage with a scarf wrapped round her to guard towards the chilliness. “However we aren’t silent.”

She has retreated from the highlight and now makes dumplings to ship to troopers, working alongside fellow artists within the Drohobych repertory theater’s cafe. It is one small a part of an enormous struggle effort by defiant volunteers throughout the nation who typically discover themselves enjoying sudden roles.

Within the theater’s warmly lit cafe, the place snack bar popcorn has gone stale within the almost month since Russia’s invasion, artists on this neighborhood close to the foot of the Carpathian Mountains in southwestern Ukraine have been rolling and filling dough so as to add to the hundreds of dumplings they’ve despatched to the entrance, or to displaced folks in want.

“We did greater than 3,000 kilos of meatballs,” mentioned theater director Mykola Hnatenko. “100 fifty kilograms of stewed cabbage with meat. Greater than 10,000 verenyky (dumplings) with potato. Seventy kilograms of filling for borscht. Eighty kilograms of fried fish. Two thousand pancakes with meat, and 500 candy pancakes. Now we have determined to do extra meals with proteins like meat.”

Within the courtyard, males, their arms blackened with soot, chopped wooden for the cooking fires, overseen by the theater’s deputy director, Sergei Havdjak, wearing military-style drab.

Hnatenko appeared particularly pleased with the borscht the volunteers have been sending to troopers in locations just like the capital, Kyiv, the place some areas have collapsed into brutal street-to-street preventing in near-freezing climate. He confirmed a cellphone video of a distribution of meals in Kyiv, with a smiling soldier flashing a “V” for victory signal.

The food-making effort started on the second day of Russia’s invasion. It takes about 150 volunteers, together with artists who’ve been displaced from different components of Ukraine and now stay on the theater, Hnatenko mentioned.

“It conjures up us that we additionally contribute someway to the victory of the nation,” he mentioned.

The theater staff have been shaken by the struggle and the accounts of individuals becoming a member of them after fleeing from different components of Ukraine. Shkondina, the actress, described the kids arriving with “grownup eyes” stuffed with terror, needing time to really feel regular once more.

“That is just like the struggle I examine in books, or heard about from my grandparents,” she mentioned.

Whereas Shkondina was not used to creating dumplings – “As a result of we’re actors, we would not have time to do such issues,” she mentioned – she and others gladly placed on performances for the displaced youngsters whose households have fled to Drohobych, to assist distract them from the struggle.

The performances drew from the nostalgia for all times earlier than Russia invaded.

On a gold-colored couch by a piano, in a pool of quiet close to the bustle of meals preparation, Vasil Nevolov sat alone and contemplated the previous. After 50 years of dwelling in Kyiv as an arts critic and professor, he abruptly needed to flee.

“Every little thing round my home is destroyed,” he mentioned. “There isn’t any extra grocery store. There isn’t any extra faculty.” A lot of his life’s work now appeared to make little sense.

He nervous about his grandchildren, who remained in Kyiv. They can not go away. Their mom is a medical employee, their father a brand new member of the territorial protection. He’s pleased with their work, and pleased with the work of the volunteers round him.

“Regardless of my age, which is already fairly respectable, 74 years, I wish to be helpful to the theater,” Nevolov mentioned of his new neighborhood.

Amid the chaos he’s discovering optimism. He repeated the saying that has turn out to be a rallying cry and reassurance for hundreds of thousands of individuals: “Every little thing can be Ukraine” – all the things can be tremendous.

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