The place: Tartu, the second half of the 19th century. In an outbuilding by the observatory on Toome Hill, a young woman artist waits for her husband to return from an expedition to Siberia; lost in longing, she is painting his portrait. But she can’t find the peace of mind she needs, as old friends and comrades have come to revisit old stomping grounds and have moved into the house. The chaos culminates in a fire nearly breaking out, yet the mysterious Chimney Sweep intercedes, bringing not only his professional skills but the sophisticated art of storytelling and listening. Thanks to him, everything falls into place in the best possible manner – just like the stars in the firmament.
A number of the characters in this play are based on historical prototypes. Member of the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, painter Julie Hagen-Schwarz; her spouse, the astronomer and world traveller Ludwig Schwarz; world-famous astronomer and world traveller Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve; and the man who mapped the Great Russian Meridian Arc, Gen. Carl Friedrich Tenner. The roots of the Chimney Sweep character come from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep.
This theatre evening in dusky August on Toome Hill is an opportunity to reflect on the changes that have taken place in science and art, and vicariously experience the story of a great love affair, with actual stars in the sky overhead.
A co-production of Vanemuine Theatre and the University of Tartu History Museum
Premiere 10.08.2016 at Toome Hill in Tartu by the observatory (Lossi 40)