On the roof of the Parktheater, I feel myself rapidly becoming smaller
I find it difficult to enjoy theater online. But a good storyteller certainly keeps me focused.
That's how I ended up watching Alice in Wonderland, an online project by Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and Het Parool, with new daily episodes from the famous Lewis Carroll story. It leads me to dream away in these (also literally) dark days.
I hang on the words of such compelling storytellers as Ramsey Nasr, Chris Nietvelt, Hans Kesting and Pierre Bokma.
In episode two, Ramsey Nasr tells how Alice follows a white rabbit and falls down a deep rabbit hole. She wonders: will I ever get out?
I feel like Alice sometimes. How does she survive in a world where nothing is as it used to be?
But suddenly, she came upon a three-legged table made of solid glass. There was nothing on it, except a golden key. Alice's first thought was that it might be the key to one of the hallway doors. But unfortunately, either the locks were too big or the key was too small, for not one of them could be opened by it.
I pause Ramsey’s narrative to stretch my legs. Only now do I hear the clatter of a huge rain shower.
Back on the sofa, I gaze at the pouring rain and imagine what it would be like to experience Alice in Wonderland live in the theater. How ingenious the set would be and how bizarre the characters would look. The stately mouse, the mysterious cat ...
And how the sound of the rain shower would sound on the roof of the Parktheater.
The roof, which has provided protection against rain, hail, wind and cold for over fifty years. Naturally, it’s not something you think about… Until the roof comes off.
And that happened recently:
The entire roof was replaced, and there are now hundreds of solar panels on it. I wanted to see that up close. A colleague and I went and took a look together.
Via a small elevator and a narrow spiral staircase, we reach the fly tower, about 25 meters above the stage. Beneath the floor of the fly tower hang the fly bars and rigs, the hoisting apparatus by which pieces of the set are hung.
Like Alice, I feel I have tumbled down, or rather up, and I find myself in a disorienting space of steel cables, chains, winches, pipes and pullies. Through the grid floor, I can see the stage floor far beneath me.
… On her second round, however, she came to a low curtain that she had not noticed before and behind it was a door that was 50 centimeters high. She tried the gold key in the lock, and much to her delight, it fit.
My colleague opens a hatch with a key, and a bit later we are on the roof. I am standing in front of the giant P of the letters P A R K T H E A T E R that stand atop the Philipszaal against the background of Herman Kuijer's illuminated wall. And I feel like I’m rapidly becoming smaller.
With one hand, I try to reach for the edge of the letter, but it’s too far away to touch. After a short walk past the remaining letters A R K T H E A T E R, it is time to return.
Alice opened the door to find that it led into a passage not much bigger than a mouse hole. She knelt and looked down the hall into the most beautiful garden you have ever seen.
Tomorrow I will continue listening to Alice's adventure. Actress Maria Kraakman will take over from Ramsey then. She'll keep me focused.
Hopefully, together with many other people, I will experience her adventures once again live in the theater, while the rain patters on the new roof.
The roof of the Parktheater will be renovated.
The roof consists of various 'partial roofs': the Grote Foyer, the Ketelhuis, the dressing rooms, the side auditoriums, and the loading and unloading area (the roof of the latter was already replaced in 2019).
The renovations are being overseen by the company ZND NEDICOM. Demolition of the roof began in August. After that, an "emergency layer" was laid first (and remains). Then the insulation layer was laid, and finally the outer layer. The work will be completed by sometime around Christmas 2020.
The roof is being renovated because solar panels will be placed on it as part of the Smart Sustainable Real Estate project by the municipality of Eindhoven. The municipality has the ambition to be 0 CO2 neutral by 2035-2045 (the building is owned by the municipality).
This sustainability project has made a start with five municipal buildings, including the Parktheater. The other four buildings are Dynamo, the Effenaar, Tennishal Eindhoven Noord and Sporthal de Vijfkamp. In total, this constitutes 9,000 m2 of roof surface, upon which approximately 5,000 solar panels (400 on the Parktheater roof alone) are being laid.
This means that approximately one million kWh of solar energy will be generated per year. That is the equivalent to the energy consumption of 350 households.
At present, half of the intended number of solar panels (200) have been installed on the roof. The remaining 200 panels will be installed throughout 2021.