Highlights from the Third Press Conference


The third and final press conference of this year’s Theatre Festival was held on Friday. We heard about the weekend’s spectacular and touching performances, and the new member of the Festival’s artistic team was revealed.

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Nanterre-Amadiers – Centre dramatique national: Night of the Moles

Night of the Moles by director Philippe Quesne opens the door to a surreal, subterranean world inhabited by a charming group of moles.

Actor Gaëtan Vourc’h says that the performance was inspired by a previous piece by the group that also featured a mole. They wanted to bring this idea to their next performance.

The mole costumes made by Corine Petitpierre are a central element of the piece. Vourc’h says that they’re all that’s needed to create the illusion of animals – the actors don’t have to ’try’ to be moles.

When the actors are in the costumes, their field of view is very limited so they cannot really see the other moles or where they are on the stage. Vourc’h draws a parallel between this and the way that the audience sees the performance.

– When you’re sitting in the audience, you can only see what’s in front of you. It’s the same for the actors, Vourc’h explains.

TTT-theatre, Suuri näyttämö (Main Stage)
Fri 10th August at 19:00
Sat 11th August at 16:00

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KOM Theatre: Blood Roses

Based on a novel by Anneli Kanto, Blood Roses is a touching story about the female Red Guard in the Finnish Civil War. Director Lauri Maijala read the novel ten years ago and started feeling anger – why hadn’t the women’s story got any attention anywhere?

– If Anneli Kanto was a man, the novel would’ve been an instant classic, Maijala suspects.

According to Maijala, the girls taking up arms may not have had much to do with socialist ideals. They just wanted to put on a pair of trousers and be seen as equal citizens. The girls also fought till the end because they had less to lose than the men, which is why the story is so important to the director.

– It’s not that I think it’s cool that they kept on killing till the end. But the men in the war knew that they had a small chance of survival whereas the women knew that they would face certain death, probably sexual violence as well. It makes a person fight, Maijala explains.

Sorin Sirkus
Fri 10th August at 19:00
Sat 11th August at 12:00

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Amanda Palo & Olga Palo: Nutcase

Kilari is an autobiographical monologue about sexual violence and its devastating effect on the victim’s mental health. The performance is based on Amanda Palo’s personal experience but it also brings up the larger issue of sexual violence in society.

– We went from personal to political. At first we had this single experience but then we thought, this is not an isolated case by any means. We’re definitely not alone in this, director Olga Palo says.

When the performance was still in the works, the #metoo campaign went viral on social media. As a result, victims of sexual harassment and violence started sharing their stories. This gave Amanda Palo the strength and courage to go on with Nutcase and eventually perform it.

– Nutcase is not a story of survival and nor is it a victim story. I have agency now and I’m taking back my own space, Amanda Palo says.

Fri 10th August at 19:00
Sat 11th August at 14:00

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Svenska Teatern: I Would Prefer Not To

I Would Prefer Not To is a story about a Wall Street clerk who suddenly just stops working completely – he would simply prefer not to do what he is supposed to do. The performance is based on Herman Melville’s novel which dates back to the 1850s, but director Milja Sarkola says that it is still surprisingly reflective of modern society. The focus on performance and the constant demand to be productive provoke protests even today.

Sarkola has wanted to adapt the novel for the stage for a long time, but the idea was rejected the first time she suggested it. She says that the novel does not really lend itself to the stage, but society has changed so much that the idea received a warmer welcome the second time around.

The main character named Bartleby refuses to work time and again. The director is also interested in the question of what happens to language and speech when the same response is repeated over and over.

– The same thing is happening in the social media. We have these standardised ways to express ourselves, Sarkola says.

Sat 11th August at 19:00
Sun 12th August at 15:30

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Hämeenlinna Theatre: Scenes from a Marriage

Director Samuli Reunanen’s adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s cult novel tells the story of a marriage in crisis. Reunanen read Bergman’s autobiography as a young man on his mother’s recommendation and it blew his mind – he couldn’t help but wonder how someone can say these things yet at the same time, he found it gentle.

When he was already working in the theatre field, he happened upon The Hämpton Dixieband’s music and it reminded him of Bergman. He started wondering exactly how audacious it would be to join together Bergman’s Swedish bourgeois story and music from the deep south, blues and root music.

The actors, Liisa Peltonen and Lasse Sandberg, are a couple in real life. Reunanen says that he met them by chance in the restaurant car of a train.

– They seemed like a really happy couple so I wanted to test them a little bit, Reunanen laughs.

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Changes in the festival’s artistic team

The new member of the Tampere Theatre Festival’s artistic team was revealed in the press conference: actress, director and scriptwriter Tanjalotta Räikkä will replace Miko Jaakkola. Director-scriptwriter Hilkka-Liisa Iivanainen and director Aleksis Meaney will continue as members of the artistic team.

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