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Experimental Theater Explores Finno-Ugric Themes

The Straw Theater at the time of construction, spring 2011
The Straw Theater at the time of construction, spring 2011 Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

An improvisational theater production performed as part of Tallinn 2011 Capital of Culture will highlight Finno-Ugric culture and traditions, with no two performances alike.

Khanty, Mansi, Mari and Udmurt actors will star alongside Estonians in one of the first collaborations between Estonian actors and colleagues from the various small First Nations in Russia's taiga belt.

"Sugrierror", produced by Anne Türnpu, Eva Klemets and Mart Koldits, focuses on the identity of the small First Nations, roots and how they differ from the "Euro-American" world. 

The directors say the performance "reconstructs itself each performance by connecting existing components based on what day it is, who is sitting in the audience, what the actor is thinking or other workings of chance."

The first rehearsals and workshops began last summer, with Finno-Ugric and Estonian actors visiting the Baltioscandal festival and taking in local culture in southern Estonia and the Seto region. In April 2011, the actors met in the Khanty's homeland on the other side of the border. Now they are back in Estonia for rehearsals at NO99 Theater and Esna manor.

Finno-Ugric theater traditions in Russia are based mainly on Russian traditions, although the Mari do have their own state theater in the national language.

"Collaboration with Estonians encourages the theater of the kindred peoples to be more tied to their nation and culture," said Kadi Raudalainen of the Fenno-Ugria Foundation. 

"Sugrierror" runs from August 26 to 30 at the Straw Theater in the Skoone Bastion.

 

Kristopher Rikken

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