It’s been over a week since the big 7.1 quake hit Christchurch, New Zealand. And while there has been, to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, a “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” Christchurch may be battered and bruise but it is far from broken.
In fact, in many of the suburbs, there is no indication, except for minor cracks in walls and ceilings, that buildings (and people) had even been shaken around.
Life has returned to normal – well, almost.
People are going to work, children are going to school, but in reality, we are all on edge, in a state of readiness, just in case another big one hits. It’s going to take some time to relax the guard, to stop sleeping with a flashlight under the pillow and an emergency kit by the front door.
One of these days, we might even reconnect the electric garage door opener.
Sadly, most of the damage in the central city is to the historic buildings, which isn’t surprising given that over 450 of the heritage listed blocks (as well as 7000 pre-1976 commercial blocks) around Christchurch have been classified as earthquake prone.
Structural damage to many of these historic buildings will result in them being demolished. Actually, it’s already happening in some parts of the city.
Other historic buildings, thankfully, suffered what appears to be only superficial damage, mainly to their facades
The Repertory Theater, on Kilmore Street, is one such building. Originally called Radiant Hall, this building, with it’s ornate façade, has been part of Christchurch’s cityscape since 1929. But now, thanks to the earthquake, parts of it’s façade, along with many red bricks, crashed to the ground.
According to Rozena Hallum, the artistic director of the Repertory Society Committee, there is no question that this building will be repaired instead of demolished. And with that in mind, Hallum is holding rehearsals for their next production, planned for next month, in her living room.
The show, after all, must go on.
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