Friday, March 20, 2009

Aukje de Vries' Diary Day 61

In the morning I have a call with several other members of the board of the organisation where we have problems. What the problems are is clear to all of us, so we need not dwell long on them. The question is now: what to do. We decide on some steps to be taken consecutively. I hope we will be successful. We all regret that the poor leadership is such a liability for the organisation and might even jeopardise its future.

At the end of the morning I take the train to Leiden where I will have lunch with Hanneke, the friend who is teaching at a college in Leiden. She is still very busy with her caring obligations. Her father lives by himself but has a terminal disease, his three daughters try to take care of him, with the help of the home care services, but now that one of the sisters is in hospital herself so caregiving has become difficult. The problem is that the father and the sister in hospital feel that the father should remain in his own home till the very end, but Hanneke is of the opinion that the decision ought to depend on the possibilities they have to take care of him. She has her own family, some obligations to members of her husband’s relatives and her job, so she has drawn a line and stated clearly what she can and cannot do. She feels guilty about it, but I think she has made the right decision and tell her I fully understand. We always enjoy seeing each other. Today we can sit outside while we chat. This time there are no stories about her college, where the managers have taken over, like in long-term care. Before we know it the time is up and Hanneke has to go back to work. I do not yet go home but take a walk through the city. I studied in Leiden, some 50 years ago. The city has changed. A lot of renovation has been done, but the character of the city has been well preserved. I walk through many streets I know, have a look at the house where I lived (it does not look good, but I guess there are still students living there, there are so many names on the door), enjoy one of the parks, but then hurry to the station, because I have to be home in time to have dinner and get ready to go to the theatre with Esther.

The play is in a theatre in Scheveningen, called de Appel (the Apple). The building is an ancient coach house from the time there were horse-drawn coaches. It has a very nice atmosphere. It is anything but posh, but rather primitive and cosy. Sometimes they also serve meals before the performance but not today.

The play has been written by a member of the Apple Company. In fact it is almost all pantomime, about various people who have an allotment garden and all do their own thing. They have their small cabins close to one another, but have hardly any contacts. Then a new couple appears on the scene making a lot of noise. But even that does not bring them together. There is no story to the performance. We have many questions about what the author is trying to tell us and what the behaviour of some of the actors is supposed to represent. What we appreciate most is the performance by an older actress (whom we like very much anyway) who is playing the role of a person with dementia. It is incredible how well she shows exclusively by her movements, her posture and her expression that she suffers from dementia.

Esther and I are curious what the reviews will say about the play. The official opening performance is still to come. We expect the reviews will be published afterwards.

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