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Some strategies of text creation used in modern Estonian theatre

Devised theatre, documentary theatre and verbatim theatre

The article asks about the boundaries of drama. There are a few strategies of producing dramatic texts that are popular in Western theatre, yet not very widely used in Estonia: (1) devised theatre, where the staging process does not start from a finished play; (2) documentary theatre, where the dramatic text is compiled using various documentary sources, and (3) verbatim theatre, using interviews and oral tradition in general. The article defines those methods and explains their historical background. The definition of the verbatim-technique is extended to cover not only the use of recordings of oral speech, but also the use of its written records, i.e word-for-word stage presentation of interviews, essays, reports etc. Some exemplary cases from Estonian theatre are analysed in the article. Theatre devising is practised in von Krahl’s and in NO99. Merle Karusoo’s production is representative of documentary and verbatim-theatre. Precise specification of vari- ous ways of text creation enables analysis of new forms of drama and extends the boundaries of the genre.