Stardom, Drama Theater, Mariupol

by Walter Bargen

Walter Bargen

There was no queue along the sidewalk. Nothing on the marquee, but in the parking lot a word painted in large white letters over asphalt to be read by those on high: CHILDREN. The streets empty except for a pack of hungry dogs. The century-old building felt lonely, even with a thousand people sheltering inside.

Most everyone was in the basement. Who sat in the plush but worn seats? Who planned to sleep upright? No one waited for the curtains to open. No one planned to applaud. The roar of one hand clapping would have hurt all their ears. More deafening than the mourning of air raid sirens.

A few adults lay on dirty blankets spread over the concrete floor. It recalled kindergarten, the irrepressible whispers and giggles. Getting away with something so small as not sleeping, so inconsequential, until a deeper sleep exploded and legs kept running as they lay on their backs.

Last updated November 07, 2022