An epic summer

It has been a long silence, I know.

At first it was partly just me being too lazy to blog – and I had a handy excuse of having to work on my dissertation. Which of course was true – and I did work on that – but in all honesty, writing a post or two now and then is really not that much of a distraction. If anything, it is a useful distraction.

But then, in June, a rather unexpected thing happened. It all began in a perfectly ordinary way: I was asked to deliver a lecture at a workshop for The Band Network session in Tallinn on heroes (which happens to be the topic of my dissertation). It is something that I have done a couple of times before, so I figured that it will take me an afternoon or two to throw some slides together and then talk for a few hours and be done with it. And so it was, by and large, except that the lecture itself ended up considerably longer than what I had intended.

A couple of days later I received an e-mail from the director of the theater where I had given the lecture, who asked if I would be interested in getting involved in the preparation of their upcoming play on Gilgamesh. The initial wording was somewhat vague in terms of what exactly was I expected to do, but when we met a day or two later it became apparent that my task would be to take the epic of Gilgamesh (recently translated into Estonian from the original akkadian cuneiform) and turn it into a play.

gilgameš.jpg

Now, all this is more than a little ironic. There used to be a time when I really disliked drama as a genre — and pretty much made this opinion known whenever there was someone who cared to listen. I did go to see a play every now and then, but usually ended up kicking myself for wasting another perfectly good two hours on something I knew I’d end up hating. While I have had to revise this initial stance over the years, I most certainly am no theater enthusiast.

Given all this and the fact that there was pretty much exactly eight weeks left to the premiere I was more than a little hesitant in getting into it — but get into it I did. It would take several posts to give an account of everything that followed in the next two months, but I can certainly say that I could not be happier about that decision. It was a very tough eight weeks, but it was a blast. Of course, if I were to do this all over again I’d do many things differently, but by and large I am very happy with the outcome.

Anyway, now it’s time to get back to my academic heroes.

 

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