Toomas Kall

Toomas Kall


Toomas Kall (born 16 October 1947) is a playwright, humourist, cartoonist and translator.

Kall was born and attended school in Tallinn, studied history at the Faculty of History and Philology at Tartu State University from 1966–1969 and Estonian philology from 1970–1972. He has worked for the culture newspaper Sirp ja Vasar and the humour and satire magazine Pikker, been the chief editor of the culture newspaper Sirp, dramaturge at the Old Town Studio theatre in Tallinn and repertoire manager at Tallinnfilm, later a freelancer. Hei is a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union from 1984.

He began his creative path as a cartoonist – the collection Siin triumfikaare all (‘Here under the Arc of Triumph’) appeared in 1977; thereafter, he began to publish humorous stories in the press. He stood out with witty travesties. His parodies and short pieces have been gathered into the collection Eliase lohe. Valik tekste viimasest ja eelviimasest ajast (‘Elijah’s Dragon. A Selection of Texts from the Times Last and Before the Last’, 1999)

Kall has written several comedies, mainly for the Old Town Studio and its successor Old Baskin Theatre, for example, Lõunavaheaeg (‘Lunch Break’, staged in 1984, Juhan Smuul Literary Prize in 1985), Lihtne ja ilus (‘Simple and Beautiful’, staged in 1987), and the Prügikast (‘Dustbin’) trilogy which reflected the peculiarities of the era: Prügikast ehk Alguse asi (‘Dustbin or the Matter of Beginning’, in cooperation with Eino Baskin, staged in 1993), Prügikast 2 ehk Põhi paistab (‘Dustbin 2 or We’ve Reached the Bottom’, staged in 1995) and Prügikast 3 ehk Eesti masurka (‘Dustbin 3 or the Estonian Mazurka’, staged in 2009). Kall is noticeable first of all for his good situational and character humour.

Kall was one of the scriptwriters of the popular puppet show on topical political issues, Pehmed ja karvased (‘The Soft and Hairy Ones’) which was aired on television from 2001–2013. He has also written the script for the television series M klubi (‘M Club’, 1995–1998, Suur Vanker (Big Dipper) Prize for the best scriptwriter, 1996). He has been the scriptwriter of several animated cartoons, puppet and feature films: Värvipliiatsid (‘Coloured Pencils’, 1973, director Avo Paistik), Sõlm (‘Knot’, 1983, director Kalju Kivi); Kevadine kärbes (‘Spring Fly’, 1986, directors Hardi Volmer, Riho Unt); Rahu tänav (‘Peace Street’, 1991, director Roman Baskin), Minu Leninid (‘My Lenins’, 1997, in cooperation with Hardi Volmer and Ott Sandrak; director Hardi Volmer; the script won the audiovisual arts annual award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia).

In addition, Kall has translated numerous plays and prose works from Russian and written fore- and afterwords for them, for example, N. Gogol, ‘Viy’ (Вий), ‘Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka’ (Вечера на хуторе близ Диканьки) and ‘The Government Inspector’ (Ревизор); A. Genis, ‘Dovlatov and his Environs’ (Довлатов и окрестности) and ‘Reading Hours: Kamasutra for Book Lovers’ (Уроки чтения: камасутра книжника), Svetlana Alexievich, ‘War’s Unwomanly Face’ (У войны не женское лицо), M. Moskvina ‘Romance with the Moon’ (Роман с луной), I. Pozharskaya, ‘Yuri Nikulin, in an Almost Funny Way’ (Юрий Никулин).

Kall has written literary and theatre criticism and compiled the caricature album Kuueteistkümnemäng (‘Game of Sixteen’) and the collection Pärnograafia: Priit Pärna joonistusi 1964–2006 (‘Pärnography: Priit Pärn’s Drawings 1964–2006’, 2006).

Toomas Kall has received the second prize at international caricature exhibitions in Skopje (1977 and 1978) and grand prix at the caricature exhibition of the Soviet Union in Leningrad (1981), the Oskar Luts Humour Prize (1996) and the Meie Mats Humour Prize (1998). He has also been awarded the Order of the National Coat of Arms, Class 4 (2006), and the Aleksander Kurtna Translation Award (2019).

A. K. (Translated by I. A.)


Books in Estonian

Ajaloo tajumine: humoreskid, proosa, luule, dramaturgia, teooria ja kriitika, publitsistika, interpretatsioonid, ajakirjandusžanrid. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1982, 114 lk.
Eliase lohe: valik tekste viimasest ja eelviimasest ajast. Tallinn: Vagabund, 1999, 189 lk.
Armas aeg: huumorikogumik. Tallinn: Tänapäev, 2004, 328 lk.
Rüütel rahva keeles ja meeles. Tallinn: Varrak, 2006, 184 lk.
Enne salastamist: ühe arvamusliidri päästetud ülestähendusi. Tallinn: Tammerraamat, 2018, 126 lk.
Paunvere lõpp: kuidas eesti kirjanikud „Kevadet“ kirjutaksid. 69 paroodiat. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2019, 103 lk.

Lõunavaheaeg. Lihtne ja ilus. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1988, 86 lk.
Päikesekontsert: tänuavaldus kahes osas, vabas õhus. Kose: R. Visnapuu, 2002, 52 lk.

Uku-Ralf Tobi, Minu päevik 2000. Tallinn: Vagabund, 2001, 112 lk.

Priit Pärn, Milline kaunis paik. Pildiraamat; Toomas Kall, Siin triumfikaare all. Karikatuure 1969-1972. Tallinn: Kunst, 1977, 48 lk. [Tirelraamat.]