If I learn nothing else from how Polish theaters work with choruses, I’ve learned that I need to never do anything without a harmonium again. You know, one of these:

It’s a wonderful instrument for establishing a sonic background for choral work.

Anyone who has had some piano background can mess around on one. See the back panel? You pump that with one hand to provide air while playing with the other.

Yesterday I managed to have lunch with friends from Chorea, in Łódź, and sneak a glimpse at a couple of hours of their rehearsals for the new work premiering Friday. They’re working (con harmonium, of course!) with an enormous choral posse of high schoolers and younger children, dancers and singers. They met in classrooms and cleared the chairs to the sides to sing. It reminded me of doing the same thing, year after year, in SIAW.

The dance rehearsal was being held in an enormous open ballroom-type space, and little kids were running across the stage as fast as they could. What I saw was so joyous. I can’t wait for the whole thing.

After the rehearsal, I checked into the hostel and saw Teatr Cinema’s fantastic “RE// MIX / PINA BAUSCH” show at the Dom Kultury. The performance, which I missed earlier this year in its Warsaw and Gdańsk incarnations, was part of the Łódź Theatrical Meetings. As usual, there was surreal, repeated movement, and humor, including an incredible “niemiecki flamenco” (German flamenco) section where all the actors held enormous pumpkins behind their backs. I love Cinema, and I must finish one of the fifty things I want to write about them soon.

I’m going to have brunch with a friend, a fellow Cali Fulbrighter, in about an hour, in a cafe with glass walls, and then make my way to Dworzec Łódź Kaliska for the 12:40 to Wrocław. The last time I took this train, on this day (Saturday), it was so crowded I had to sit on the pull-down seat in the aisles. Preparing myself for the same thing today.

This evening will be Teatr Pieśń Kozła’s “Lear Oratorio.”