“EESTI: Myths and Machines” (2011)

Performance – Photo:s

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Created and Performed by:  Peter Trosztmer

Creation Assistance: Thea Patterson

Dramaturgical consultation: Lois Brown,

Sculpture: Jeremy Gordaneer

Sound: Jean-Sebastian Durocher

Lighting: Rasmus Sylvest

support:  Tangente, Studio 303, Rabbittown Theatre, CALQ, Canada Council, Usine C.

Eesti: Myths and Machines is Peter Trosztmer’s choreographic examination of his family history and how it has shaped his own identity. It was one of Voir’s Top 5 for 2011, Le Devoir called it “coup de ceour de l’automne”, and Philip Szporer (Dance Current) saidit was “easily one of the best productions of the year.”

” Rarement voit- on le corps d’un danseur parler autant que celui de Peter Trosztmer …hallucinant. C’est surtout, et sans contredit un show à voir absolument” Nightlife Magazine

Fused to an amplified sound sculpture – the machine  – that moves imperceptibly through the space suggesting the castle where an uncle was tortured, his family’s escape from Estonia to Canada by boat, and of course, the machine of war, Peter tackles themes of heroism, and survivor guilt.

Inspired by the stories of my Grandfather’s escape from Estonia at the end of WWII in a small boat, Eesti Myths and Machines is a tour de force of movement, storytelling and moving sound sculpture that takes the viewer on a journey of discovery and redemption. Brought to life through letters and an oral history we travel through time as I come to terms with how my grandfather’s heroism and courage resonate two generations later, and how they find a voice is the much less epic moments of ‘heroism’ that I encounter in my day
to day neighbourhood life.

The Forest Brothers

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Full video:    –

An investigation into:

“What actually Happened?”

““Actually it was like this…”

A little video that includes some research used and unused:

What Are You Doing?: Dramaturgical Approaches to Eesti: Myths and Machines

4 thoughts on ““EESTI: Myths and Machines” (2011)

  1. Pingback: Performance work by Peter Trosztmer « Peter Trosztmer

  2. EESTI was jawdropping, from the first moment. Hilarious and frightening, sometimes at the same time; the voice of the interrogator disciplining, as it were the dancer-storyteller…! I loved this piece from beginning to end. Exhausting, cathartic. Two intertwined stories. Just genius. Congratulations!

  3. The second world war was particularly tragic for many small nations, who against their will, were drawn into the fight between the major powers. The decision regarding on which side to fight was often made for you, depending on the changing circumstances. We know from our own experience that people from one and the same nation fought in the armies of both sides. Most of the 30 000 who were mobilised in the summer of 1941 had to fight on the Russian side – in the ranks of the so called Estonian Rifle Corps – but over 10 000 of these who were in the labour battalions died of cold and hunger. The overwhelming majority of the approximately 100 000 Estonians who in some way or other participated in the war, fought on the side of the Germans or Finns.
    As our older generation remembers, pro-British feeling predominated in Estonia before World War II and even in the early days of the war. After all, the British had assisted in the days of the birth of Estonia’s independence. We were angry at the Ger-mans for attacking Poland. We remembered the centuries long oppression of our peo-ple by the German Barons, and also the furtive attacks by the Landeswehr during our War of Independence.
    Why then was there such a sudden change of attitude? There is no doubt at all that this turnabout in people’s attitudes was the fault of the Russians themselves with their year long occupation. After all, the events that took place in 1940-1941, after the annexation of Estonia – the brutality and terror perpetrated against the peaceful population, the arrests and the particularly extensive deportations – convinced most Estonians that the biggest danger to the existence of the Estonian nation was Russian communism. Hopes regarding help from Britain or France had collapsed. Moreover, both these countries had become, at the outbreak of the war, friends and allies of the Soviet Union, so the majority of Estonians saw that their only hope for an ally against the mortal danger posed by the east, was unavoidably Germany, and so, as a result of the circumstances, the centuries long enmity faded into the background.
    In the summer of 1941, a partisan mass resistance movement against the Russians began – the so-called Forest Brothers. Most Estonians had realised that the Russian communist system had to be resisted, whatever the cost. This was a war forced upon Estonia, a war that was not waged for the conquest of new lands, or for the suppression of other nations, but for the defence of one’s home. Those who fought in the infamous destruction battalions together with the Russians were seen by most Estonians as traitors, since they were fighting not so much against the Germans, but against their own people.

  4. Pingback: A Nonesuch Arts Residency: Gordaneer, Patterson, Trosztmer | Main & Station

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