The SEAS Club closed on Saturday night – and with it closed the Comics club forever – due to be bulldozed next month.
Meanwhile I got a chance to go to Balchik for the first time (having been anchored in Varna for the duration of the SEAS Coastal event so far). The artists are staying in the Balchik Castle (the former home of the Romanian Queen – this part of Bulgaria once belonged to Romania) which is owned by the Ministry of Culture. Alongside its hosting of cultural activities, it also has a fair number of paying tourists. The whole complex is built on a hill side overlooking the sea and is made up of a series of villas. Apparently there is a habit for the tourists to mistake the holiday villas for parts of the castle buildings and frequently sightseers barge into holiday-makers private apartments assuming that it is all open to the public. Guess what – this is exactly what happened to me – a mother and family of three daughters walked into my villa (fortunately I was dressed) and asked if they could “visit”…er, sure, I said…After they walked around for moment they obviously realised their mistake, that there was nothing more historic to be seen than my dirty washing, said thank you, and left.
In Balchik, Theatre Sfumato are holding a workshop with an international group of young performers – Margarita Mladenova is impressed by her group. She asks Chris not to come early in the morning because she will be doing “psychological exercises” with them. I understand that they also don’t take lunch during the workshop – is this all part of the psychological conditioning?
The bus arrives from Varna with the SEAS artists and the Balchik artists join it to go north across the border to Romania. It was been a mixed few days in Balchik – the ministry of Culture suddenly announced that it needed to accommodate 10 guests in the Castle and our accommodation plan was ruined. Audience has been hard to find – except those who we have brought to Balchik from Romania. But the positives are that Tiyatro Oyunevi have presented their work in progress and Nedyalko Delchev has shown his Suitcases piece – both in the public space. A loud group of diners in the cafe stopped talking and rushed to take pictures as Oyunevi’s “procession” passed them. Monday in the Sun in the harbour was also very good. Some hip-hop boys in the audience showed off their moves at the end of the show. Bogomazov in the church drew a good crowd and the church is venue is an ideal place for Sweet Dreams the show. Dima’s son and two colleagues sing us an old Ukrainian traditional song over dinner – its about love and involves a boy, a girl and a horse. All Ukrainian love songs seem to be about a boy, a girl and a horse, jokes Dima.
So next to Mangalia – the southern-most Romanian sea resort – our last stop – and also home to the Romanian Miss Diaspora competition (a kind of Miss World competition for Romanian ladies living abroad) which can be experienced at the following link:
We arrive in Mangalia to discover that the mayor (who is up for re-election) has arranged for a big screen to be put up in the harbour to show the European Football Championship at top volume and is giving away free beer to attract a crowd (just to make sure?). As we will be using an area next to the stage for Monday in the Sun and a house next door as our club this is not good news. Some phone calls are made and a meeting is organised for tomorrow… Romania played France tonight – the Wunderbaum duo took this as a golden opportunity. They ran up to their rooms, changed into their Manchester United shirts – Rooney and Ronaldo – and ran out of the hotel (still getting dressed) down to the screen with their photographer to get the pictures they need for the slide show at the start of their show. Later that night, Netherlands beat Italy 3-0.
Mangalia is noisy town – everywhere there is music booming out of bars. Our art is going up against a seaside party energy that we either ride or sink beneath and our SEAS banners hang between the advertisements for the political parties. VOTE for SEAS!
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