Altered States: Theatre, Music, Film from the Baltic States

Review in Issue 8-4 | Winter 1996

The theatre festival consisted of four shows: Estonian Games, Wedding and Epp Pillapart Pottery (Estonia), Ruth’s Book (Latvia), and Old Woman 2 (Lithuania). The pieces were very different. Wedding was the most radical in form, mixing computer generated images with folk song and dance to tell the story of Estonia as a computer game. Whilst the images slowed down the storytelling its narrative was bolder than most UK theatre. Pottery was the most traditional in text and narrative and the least interesting. The centre-piece was the making of pots on stage, original visually but it simply succeeded in strengthening the naturalism of the show. My favourite piece was Ruth’s Book, which told the story of Ruth as a pre-Christian allegory of community and altruism. The contemporary resonances were not fully explored but as a piece of theatre it was stunning. A cast of twenty women created a dance-theatre of ritual and pattern to give a female celebration of the female. The space evoked the 'orkestra' and the staging used words, character and action to give a filmic quality. Old Woman 2 used stories of Daniil Kharms within a surreal style to capture the atmosphere and nightmare of the original. This was physical theatre of a very East European kind in its use of body, soundscape and images. The Festival brought in a large Baltic audience which gave the performances a very particular and enjoyable flavour and has to be considered a success in showing work from an until recently closed part of Europe.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1996

This article in the magazine

TT 8-4
Issue 8-4
p. 22