Paavo Piik (born 28 December 1983) is a poet, playwright, translator, dramaturge and director.
Piik completed Tallinn English College and graduated from the University of Oxford in the specialities of philosophy, political science and economics and from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre as a dramaturge. He has worked as a dramaturge and director at Tallinn City Theatre. Since 2011, he has been dramaturge and director of the theatre troupe Kinoteater. Piik is a member of the Estonian Directors’ and Dramaturgs’ Union (2001). His brother is the producer, director and dramaturge Paul Piik (1986).
Piik is mainly known as a playwright and dramaturge. One of his best-known plays is Keti lõpp (‘The End of the Chain’), the action of which rolls out at a fast-food restaurant that is open for the last day and where the paths of estranged and lonely people cross. The restaurant may be seen as a model of the urbanised world. The play won the third place at the playwriting competition of the Estonian Theatre Agency (2011) and the dramaturgy prize at the Baltic theatre festival (2013). The play also served as a basis for a feature film (2017) directed by Priit Pääsuke.
Several Piik's plays are based on documentary material; for example, Panso (2010) is based on the manuscript materials of the famous Estonian director, actor and theatrical teacher Voldemar Panso. The source for Jaanipäev (‘St John’s Day’, 2018), written in cooperation with Mari-Liis Lill, is interviews with Siberian Estonians. The plays Varesele valu… and Harakale haigus… (‘Send the Pain to the Crow’ and ‘Send the Illness to the Magpie’), also written in cooperation with Mari-Liis Lill, are based on interviews with patients who suffered from depression. These plays received the prize for the best play in the programme of the Baltic Theatre Forum in 2015. Together with Lill, Piik received the Estonian National Cultural Award in 2017 for the play Teisest silmapilgust (‘At Second Glance’), which deals with the theme of Estonian Russians. In addition to Mari-Liis Lill, Piik has cooperated with Diana Leesalu, dramaturge and director of Tallinn City Theatre, and actor and director Henrik Kalmet. Together with Kalmet, Alissija-Elisabet Jevtjukova, Aivo Rannik, Paul Piik and Marta Pulk, Paavo Piik received the Annual Performing Arts Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia for the documentary project Aasta täis draamat (‘A Year Full of Drama’), a film about it was completed in 2019. The project was based on an experiment by Kinoteater where the winner of the so-called theatre ignoramus competition – namely Alissija-Elisabet Jevtjukova - viewed all the productions of Estonian professional theatres during a year and shared her impressions. In 2023, Piik's play Üle oma varju (‘Over Your Shadow’) received the original Estonian drama award. It concentrates on being someone else and the lies related to this.
Since his first poetry collection Kummuli linnad (‘Cities Upside Down’, 2006), Piik has stood out for intellectual depiction of present-day timespace, primarily the urban environment, and the troubles of modern times. In the collection Lakoonia (‘Laconia’, 2008), an essential role belongs to social sensitivity and ironical glance; the depicted space has narrowed, being restricted in Kokkuplahvatus (‘Implosion’, 2009) mainly to the personal space.
Piik has been the curator of the theatre festival A Midwinter Night’s Dream (2014, 2016), a member of the idea and production team of the Republic of Estonia 103rd anniversary concert production (2021) and scriptwriter and editor of the television broadcasts of Kinoteater. Piik is the many-time Estonian champion in squash.
A. K. (Translated by I. A.)
Books in Estonian
Kummuli linnad: 23 luuletust. Tallinn: Tuum, 2006, 32 lk
Lakoonia. Tallinn: Värske Rõhk, 2008, 45 lk
Kokkuplahvatus. Randvere: P. Piik, 2009, 46 lk
Harakuri. Tallinn: Hälin ja Raev, 2018, 46 lk
Panso: Voldemar Panso kartoteegikaartide ja tunnikonspektide abil. Näidendiraamat 12. Tallinn: Eesti Draamateater, 2010, 68 lk
Keti lõpp. Tallinn: Tallinna Linnateater, 2012, 55 lk
Paavo Piik, Mari-Liis Lill, Varesele valu, harakale haigus…: lugusid depressioonist ja tervenemisest. Näidendiraamat 22. Tallinn: Eesti Draamateater, 2014, 149 lk
Paavo Piik, Mari-Liis Lill, Jaanipäev: Siberi külades tehtud intervjuude põhjal. Näidendiraamat 29. Tallinn: Eesti Draamateater, 2018, 95 lk