The theatre was empty. The seats had been lined towards mud. Nevertheless it 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’re not silent.”
Shkondina has retreated from the highlight and now makes dumplings to ship to troopers, working alongside fellow artists within the cafe of a theatre in Drohobych, southwestern Ukraine.
It’s one small a part of an enormous warfare effort by defiant volunteers throughout the nation who typically discover themselves enjoying sudden roles.
Within the warmly lit cafe, the place snack-bar popcorn has gone stale within the weeks because the Russian invasion, artists on this group are rolling and filling dough so as to add to the 1000’s of dumplings they’ve despatched to the entrance, or to displaced individuals in want.
“We did greater than 3,000 kilos of meatballs,” mentioned theatre director Mykola Hnatenko. “One-hundred-fifty kilogrammes of stewed cabbage with meat. Greater than 10,000 varenyky (dumplings) with potato. 70 kilogrammes of filling for borscht, 80 kilogrammes of fried fish, 2,000 pancakes with meat, and 500 candy pancakes. Now we’ve determined to do extra meals with proteins like meat.”
Within the courtyard, males, their fingers blackened with soot, chopped wooden for the cooking fires, overseen by the theatre’s deputy director, Sergei Havdjak, wearing military-style drab.
Hnatenko appeared particularly pleased with the borscht the volunteers despatched 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 the distribution of meals in Kyiv, with a smiling soldier flashing a “V” for victory signal.