Wednesday afternoon my Dad and I went to see ‘Soldaat van Oranje’ – the musical. It was a gift from my sisters and brother. We talked a lot over the past 2 years about seeing it, but I wasn’t sure if my Dad could handle it.
World War 2 is not a subject we kids talk about, when Dad is around. He lost many friends in that period, and during Remembrance Day, May 4, he’s very still.
Okay, he had some bad spells during the performance, but was glad he had seen the play. Most of the people in the theater were 60+, so they had support from each other. We where not sitting next to each other, I was in row 2, with my nose right on the stage, and he was sitting in row seven, with a good view on the performance.
The musical is based on the book by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema which was made into a movie in 1977 Soldier of Orange. The show takes place in a former flight hangar, that is converted into a theatre. The location of the so called TheaterHangaar is former military airport Valkenburg between Wassenaar, Katwijk en Leiden, a suitable, historical place. The stage circles the seats, so from scene to scene the audience moves to the next scene. At the end of the performance you can see all scenes next to each other as you make a 360 degrees turn.
Most remarkable is the scene on the beach, real dunes, real sand, real waves, and at the back a giant screen on which you see the German bomber planes going to Rotterdam, 4 days after the war started on May 18, 1940, known as the Rotterdam Blitz. I wasn’t sure how he would react to the ‘Execution by firing squad’ in the Waalsdorper Dunes, but the woman sitting next to Dad took care of that.
At the end when HRH Queen Wilhelmina returns to Dutch soil is impressive too. She steps from a real Dakota plane and the doors from the hangar are half open, so you feel the wind blowing into to theater.
It’s a long performance, it started at 14.00 / 2 pm and closed at 17.30 / 5.30 pm with a break of less then half an hour. But well worth it, we both agreed on that.
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