Raivo Trass brings the story of Hirmus Ants to the stage in Koonga

Ants Kaljurand before the Second World War, photographed in 1939 or 1940. Photo: archive

Mati Mandel, a Western historian, is the consultant of a spectacular production about the legendary forest brother who hid in the forests of South Lääne County.

“Yes, we are preparing for this story,” Trass told Lääne Elule. “They offered to stage and I’ll try.” The author of the text is playwright Urmas Lennuk. The play itself is still so fresh that it reached the director a few weeks ago. Trass said that he is working on the text and selecting actors, including Hirmus Antsu’s cast. “In a sense, they are, but before the contracts are signed, the names cannot be pronounced yet,” Trass said.

In addition to professional actors, it is planned to involve defense allies and enthusiasts. “It simply came to our notice then. Everything will be specified. Preliminary tests will start in the spring, ”said Trass.

The production leads from 1940 to 1950. years and is based on actual events. The place of the performances – Koonga (Pikavere) town hall – is not accidental. Hirmus Ants or Ants Kaljurand, born in Saaremaa, came to Koonga as a servant and later hid as a forest brother for five years.

“Of course it’s a serious story,” Trass said.

This time and topic has not been much touched upon before. “He has not been despised, but he has somehow been in the shadows. How difficult that time was, how people hid, ”said Trass. “They were helped in the hope that the communist destroyer would be taken off the track, but that was not the case. Then we somehow breathed on. And how many traitors. How many did not know how to choose a party. ”

For the plane, it’s the story of people who set foot on a time when invisible hiding became a heroic act. “It was a painful and tragic choice that the young men faced,” Lennuk said. But why tell this story right now? “At the beginning of regaining independence, the forest fraternity was idealized, a heroic myth was created,” Lennuk said. “Recently, the Forest Brotherhood has begun to look for moral decay and brutality.”

Having dug into the memories of the Forest Brothers for half a year, Lennuk finds that they were one of the most tragic heroes. “They are heroes who were deprived of the opportunity to do heroic deeds,” Lennuk said. “For me, it’s been the most brutal and painful writing ever.”

The text of the play is reviewed by the historian Mati Mandel. “We have talked and discussed the matter a few times with the route, but the text has not yet reached me,” said Mandel.

You can look for a better expert than him, because the book “The whole truth about the Terrible Ants?” – A thorough study of the legendary forest brother.

“It’s worth it,” said Mandel Hirmus about bringing Antsu’s story to the stage. “The more these things are talked about, the better.” Mandel said that he is looking forward to the text of the play with great interest and hopes that the actor chosen for the lead role will have the right growth. “Ants was a tall man, 1.84,” Mandel said. Otherwise, according to the researcher, Ants Kaljurand was a simple country boy from a poor family. “The girl’s child, raised with her mother,” Mandel said.

Kaljurand from Saaremaa became a servant in Koonga. “It simply came to our notice then. He somehow got into the forest semi-accidentally, ”said Mandel. Kaljurand, who joined the German army in 1941 and deserted in 1944, was arrested on his way to Saaremaa in Lihula in September 1944 and taken to the Kopli prison camp in Tallinn. A few weeks later, he managed to escape to Koonga, where he hid, and he became the leader of a band of forest brothers. “Of a flat nature, he had to have something that made him a leader, even though he was also the head of the rural municipality,” Mandel said.

In 1949, Kaljuranna was captured by security. The terrible Ants were executed in March 1951.

“He got the name Terrible quite by accident,” Mandel said. Standing Ants, wearing black overalls, such a long jerk, and someone said, “Terrible man!”

“He wasn’t scary, but you see, the name stuck,” Mandel said.

“Terrible Antsu loo” is staged by MTÜ Kesk-Eesti Teatritrupp, led by Ants Välimäe from Koonga. Välimäe said that the story of Hirmus Antsu had been on his mind for years, until it finally went to work. “The story itself is tough. Very serious, ”said Välimäe. The piece does not depict the forest brother as one-sided heroes. “Rather, it is a story of choices, whether and how it was possible to remain human at that time, how people were broken and how people were broken,” said Välimäe. “The story of how great freedom is and how easily it can slip out of our hands.”

The route has been staged in South Läänemaa before. In August 2012, “Karl Ristikivi’s Burning Flag” was performed at Karl Ristikivi’s birthplace in Pivarootsi, Juurika Farm. Trass has not been in Pivarootsi since then, but he last visited his country home in Kõera village there a month ago and is waiting for spring to go again.

“The Scary Story of Antsu”

  • Premiere in July 2021 in Koong, Pikavere municipality building.
  • Author of the text Urmas Lennuk.
  • Directed by Raivo Trass.
  • A total of eight performances will be given.
  • The budget of the production is 90,000 euros.
  • The Ministry of Culture supports it with 20,000 euros.

Source: MTÜ Kesk-Eesti Teatritrupp

Photos: Urmas Lauri

Source: Lääne Elu by online.le.ee.

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