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Ildikó Sirató (Hungarian National Széchényi Library, Budapest / University of Pannonia, Veszprém): Understanding without Borders: Central-European Features of Estonian and Contemporary Finnish Plays

I consider different angles and questions posed by some contemporary Estonian and even Finnish (!) dramatic texts, which were surprisingly easily to understand for other cultures, and could also be perceived by them. And not only in their own local region, but in geographical Central Europe, too.

The paper conducts an experiment to find the main causes of this type of entanglement between the three very different literary and theatrical cultures of Estonia, Finland and Hungary. There are some historical parallels, but clearly there are more differences, and there is a range of contemporary plays to consider, to say nothing of bilateral or trilateral theatrical joint productions, too. Examples could be taken from play Goodbye Vienna by Undusk and from Eesti matus by Kivirähk, or from the Suomen hevonen-trilogy by Peltola, or even the Kokkola-tetralogy by Klemola, and of course from some Hungarian equivalents like Parti Nagy: Ibusár, Egressy: Portugál, or others.

The conclusions could possibly lead us towards an understanding of some Central-European features in Baltic cultures, where there are German influences from the late 1700s that last at least until 1939, and equally the unifying effect of the newest European cultural area, which is supported by accessible transport and the transfer of stylistic models through forums of mass communication or literary and theatrical festivities and international events. We could consider this a new era of multicultural, though usually non-verbal, communication between former “national” cultures and the possible birth of a new type of European, or Central-European, entangled culture.

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