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Jan-Erik Aruvald: All the artsy parts of acting are just psychology put to work

Jan-Erik Aruvald, an actor and coordinator of TalTech T-Teater talks about how theater magic happens, how theatre’s routine looks like and what positive effects acting has on one’s personality.

Jan-Erik Aruvald

A long-long time ago, sometime in December 2001 a couple of TalTech youngsters, led by Marko Kiisa, came together and wanted to do something different so to bring some activity to their everyday life at the university.
From those first couple of participants a larger student theatre group has developed. We are operating on what we have and what we see, so every year as our environment and ideas change, we do too. Nevertheless, our vibe stays abstract and open-minded. When we had writers among us, we performed the plays written by ourselves, but mostly we work on existing material or adaptations.

I came to the T-Teater 3 years ago. Same way as everyone — through auditions. First year I was there as a student — learned from older members and practiced. In my second year I did theatre marketing, and today I am doing a little bit of everything — basically being a helping hand, but also an actor. I have always been keen on the theatre life, and so to join was the one and only right decision.
Right now we choose our plays and exercises ourselves. The process will start with a discussion, what kind of thing we would like to do — some already written play or write one ourselves. Then we will read through all interesting plays and will choose or start writing.
Right now we are in discussion and brainstorm period to figure out what we specifically will do. Our large scale plan is to stage a new play and to go to the next edition of Student Theatre Days, which annually takes place in Viljandi.

I basically just saw all the organizations’ presentations at the beginning of the year and decided to actually act out my stray thoughts of “kinda liking acting”. I wish text analysis clicked with me during the national exams just as it did shortly after having joined the theatre. I’ve also learned that all the artsy parts of acting are just psychology put to work and it calms the rational part of my brain. I’ve been in every performance since 2015. Our theatre group is like a support group, where I can be as loud and expressive as I want and need at the time. Also a great learning experience of art and people around it.

Rehearsals and performances

We have about 10 active members at a time and usually more than half of them are TalTech students.
We have rehearsals twice a week and depending on our production, we will practice the play or do some general exercises for the future. At least once a month we try to have some additional unrelated fun activity together — board games night, movie night etc. To get a better picture of our group, you can check our Instagram.
This year we created our 13th play. They are all listed on our home page. They differ in style and presentation through the years, but our most recent one tells how we wrote a play. Traditionally we’ve used others’ stages as guests, but we now have our own black box.

Our annual auditions take place in September. For additional information see our Facebook page. You can also contact us via e-mail: info@tteater.ee. Thanks to one international student who joined us last year we started thinking about English-speaking performances, but we have not done any yet. Let’s see what tomorrow will bring.

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Svitlana Kharchenko

Immigrant and traveler. Info yoga and all things sustainable. Foreign languages and countries enthusiast.