Last week Tartu was filled with the gems of  Estonian theatre, because one of the biggest theatre festivals in Estonia, called “Draama” was held.

The prevalent theme of the eight performances seen was, to some extent, humanism. There was a lot focusing on being human. One cannot look past that. But why is that relevant? Why is no one thinking about being an animal? Or, perhaps, what would life in another universe be for a robot? For example, if the robots (MERs) sent to collect data in Mars, would suddenly develop emotions, what would they experience or feel there? This sort of situation would, in a way, be utterly impossible, but, at the same time, also interesting. And the world would be completely different. But that would be something that would not appeal to a regular person who walks into a theatre and wishes to be touched. Because he does. Why else come? For entertainment? A few laughs? Social status? And does the theatre realise that a touch must be offered? It seems that a part of the theatre landscape does. They sense the need to ask questions, the need for people to gain emotions and food for thought and an approach to different social and personal issues.

I like it immensely how such different ways are being used to bring ideas to the audience, ways that will certainly grow the audience, whose taste about experiencing/seeing/sensing something are definitely very different. It is true, of course, that even the theatre world has to keep up to date with the possibilities, topics, means of mediation, which are current in the rest of the world, and which means that the essence of the theatre may change a lot in the near future. What certainly cannot be lost, however, is personality, being present, raising questions and offering different approaches. These are the components that make the theatre such an enjoyable form of art.

Looking at the festival more generally, it can be said that the programme was put together in an interesting, diverse, and well thought out manner. The programme also included discussions on various social subjects (architecture, ecology and security), which was tied to the essence and objectives of the theatre at the current times. It was evident that the essence of theatre can be tied to any theme very nicely, draw parallels, find common features and aims. Also, after taking in the great ideas, one could go to concerts and relax in the evenings with the rest of the theatre gastronomes.

In the end, the question arose whether seeing this number of performances in such a short space of time was ultimately positive and how much the plays just seen influenced the prejudice and perception of the next ones. The experiences definitely affect each other, but at the same time they also create a better picture of the whole of the Estonian theatre world and help to reach an understanding of how different people are and that is completely acceptable, appropriate and that’s what makes the world special.