(pictures of Estonia by our workshop dramaturg, and all around dispenser of wisdom, wit and charm, Illana Brownstein)
“Many years ago, Jill Anderson, General Manager of The O’Neill Center in Waterford, CT and it’s Founder George White had a vision that someday the United States, Estonia, Latvia and Russia would trade artists, scripts and best practices across the 4 countries – creating a real global theatrical community.
In 2012, after years of planning, fundraising and several trips back and forth, , the 1st Baltic/American Playwrights Conference took place on the island of Hiiumaa, Estonia. Each country sent a director, a playwright (with a play), and several actors. The plan was for the larger group to work on a play from each country – to share actors, ideas, and see if we could discover commonalities about how we all made theatre.
What was instantly inspiring was that each country had brought a play that it believed was about it’s culture – something so specific to them that the other countries would probably be bored or confused – AND YET as each country read theirs, you could watch the faces in the room light up and lean in – every play, while the language and nuance was different, was universal – every play was ultimately about the human condition, the search for meaning and connection. Every play was about all of us.
We all left with a burning desire to see what would happen if we opened up a global conversation – what if we staged each of these plays in different countries and began to start a global theatrical conversation.
I was attracted to DOVE instantly. What amazed me is that it’s about life in the theater – what do we do with aging actors? How do we hold on to what’s sacred about our craft? How do we define ourselves as artists against the onslaught of Christmas programming? The usual American theatrical questions, BUT FROM THE ESTONIAN PERSPECTIVE. They share the exact same issues we thought were so specific to us.
As artists around the world, we were all struggling with some universal questions and we didn’t even know it.
DOVE’s world premiere that you are seeing tonight is an Estonian play being performed by American actors. Just last week, TURTLE, the American play we took over on 2012, had its world premiere in Latvia, performed by Latvian actors.
Welcome to the global theatrical community.” –