There is a new drama at a theater in central Romania, and it’s playing out offstage.
Theater employees claim the director is concealing a deadly Covid outbreak at the Alexandru Davila theater in the city of Pitesti. He denies the allegations.
Employees wrote an anonymous letter which was published on Sunday by argesulonline.ro. They said they didn’t put their names to the protest because they feared losing their jobs.
The sub prefect Lucian Ionescu said he was sending a team to check the situation at the theater after the letter was published.
Director Felix Goldbach denied hiding cases or minimizing the pandemic calling the accusations „speculation.” He said the theater respected sanitary measures.
Employees claimed that the 44-year old director had told them “he will destroy us” if he was reported to local authorities or the press.
They claimed there were at least 33 symptomatic Covid-19 confirmed cases and employees were still “forced to work.” They said there were infections in the prop, sound, lighting, human resources, bookkeeping, administrative, artistic and other departments.
The Alexandru Davila theater has 200 employees and is in Pitesti, county town of Arges county. At one point last summer, Arges had more coronavirus infections than any other region.
There were 438 new Covid-19 cases in Arges on Sunday. Pitesti has an infection rate of 10.05 per 1,000 inhabitants, according to graphs.ro.
Mr Goldbach, a clarinetist and university professor, has been theater director for about two months.
On Sunday, he was on a tour with the theater in Chisinau, Moldova. He said the allegations were designed to „destabilize the institute’s activity.”
The Pitesti theater had performances for adults and children this weekend which were staged in two auditoriums. Employees claimed the theater should have been shut because of the alleged Covid-19 cases.
‘Life or death’ situation
“We are the voice of all who keep quiet because they’re afraid. This past month it’s been an extreme, life or death situation at the theater.”
They said the director reacted badly to an article that appeared in the local media. “He cursed the whole lot of us because he didn’t want the information getting out. He said he ‘pissed on everyone’ from the local council to the press. He said he’d screw anyone, and nobody could touch him.”
“Doesn’t that sound like an outbreak. Does someone have to die for us to stop our activity?” They claimed there was scant respect for sanitary measures and restrictions at the theater.
The director rebuffed the accusations. “I never intended to hide or ignore possible Covid-19 infections among the staff,” he said in a statement.