After 2,5 weeks of rehearsals in Sweden and Moldova the group of 12 performing arts-students and teachers/directors Siri and Pelle, went to a summer camp outside the capital Chisinau. It was an ideal setting for a soft start of our tour; An idyllic wooden outdoor stage in the forest, and 160 children. Some of the children were from very poor families and permanently living there, others were there for a part of the summer.
The show went down well (although a bit too long – a common problem for these summer-shows with many clowns involved…) and afterwords we played around with the kids, doing facepainting, playing football and teaching acrobatics, until the sun set and we drove back to Chisinau.
The next day we went to the girls- and women’s prison in Rusca. We had to leave our phones and cameras at the gate and were instructed not to touch the inmates (which, of course, was an impossible instruction for the clowns). We put up our small set on the sandy volleyball-court and performed for 200 joyous prisoners (aged 16-70), seated on blankets on a slope under some trees. They were a great audience and it was clear to me how much they needed and appreciated a break from their prison routine. They laughed and interacted in a lovely way. Someone said the show reminded her of real life and made her forget the prison for a short while. This may sound like a cliché-response to a prison show, but one realizes how valid it is when one has experienced it. Our team was very touched by the experience – a combination of sadness and joy, so typical for any Clowns without Borders tour. And the strangeness of imprisonment…
After returning to the capital and a quick lunch, six of us went to the burn injury department at the children’s hospital. We performed for 10 bandaged children and their parents and some lively nurses and left balloons, lollipops and stretched out mouths of worried parents and kids in pain.
Tomorrow we leave for the northern regions, where our base will be one of the poorest orphanages. We will be back, less clean and more smelly, in one week.
And Calle and Joanna, our filmmakers, made it back to town safely after their research trip.