Original name Tunnottomuus
Kirjoittajat Pirkko Saisio
Original language Finnish
Premiere year 2004
Theater Suomen Kansallisteatteri / The Finnish National Theatre
Keywords Drama

Performances abroad

Volkstheater Rostock, Germany 13.3.2009; Rakvere Teater, Estonia 2004


The Synopsis

Scene 1
A trade union lawyer, Seppo, is cleaning fishnets with his son, Marko, who is a doctor. They are at the beach near their summer cottage. Seppo is going for a business trip to Central Europe, he is in a hurry and unsatisfied with the way his son is taking care of things. Marko’s girlfriend, the photographer Milva has woken up and goes swimming. Seppo is impressed by Milva and complains to Marko that he has lost all feeling in his hands. Milva challenges Seppo with her unfeminine behaviour but promises that she will have a cup of coffee with Seppo some day.

Scene 2
Seppo visit his demented mother Toini at an old people’s home. They again argue about who tells whom what to do and when. Seppo’s wife Tuula comes from an art class on an island and tries to settle the differences between mother and son.

Scene 3
Seppo is drunk at a bar with Marko boasting about his career in Europe. It appears that Seppo has other women. Marko is offended on behalf of his mother and lets his father understand that the blood samples have shown that Seppo has HIV.

Scene 4
Seppo goes for a coffee at Milva’s place. She uncovers Seppo’s erotic goals and offends his manhood. Seppo challenges Milva to a sadomasochist play. Milva is scared and fascinated.

Scene 5
At the same time, Marko meets his mother. Mother and son have a warm and passionate interdependence. Marko has gotten engaged to Milva and mother tries to hide her disappointment. She is afraid of the changes in her son which she thinks are caused by Milva.

Scene 6 (Scene 4 continues)
Seppo comes from Milva’s place to meet his mother at the garden of the old people’s home. He is full of masculine, sexual emanation. Seppo pressures Toini into confessing what she is so afraid of: losing her memory. Toini asks, if it is possible that humans have souls. Seppo is confused and furious at the thought of having a soul.

Scene 7
Marko and Milva at a bar. Marko suggests dates for their wedding. Milva tries to avoid the subject. She is feeling bad about her impassioned affair with Seppo. She can’t marry Marko before he has the courage to see what kind of a woman she really is.

Scene 8
Tuula is preparing family dinner, she expects Marko and Milva. Seppo has been drunk for three days and wonders if he has a soul and if so, how does it interfere with his will to live the rest of his life according to his desires. Marko comes and wonders why Milva hasn’t arrived yet. Seppo takes his car and goes to get her.

Scene 9 (Scene 8 continues)
Milva waits for Seppo in her wedding dress and forces Seppo to confess that the dress and the cheating turn him on. Seppo tries to take her with force but she stops him, being afraid that he doesn’t love her. Lust without love would only be pornography. Seppo leaves and swears that he will never return.

Scene 10 (Scene 9 continues)
Seppo returns home, the atmosphere is tense. Milva appears. The truth about Milva’s and Seppo’s affair is not spoken of, but it is in the air. Seppo claims that mothers ruin their sons when they don’t let them fight with their fathers. Tuula tries to keep the family together, encourages Marko and Milva to get married and have lots of children.

Scene 11
Tuula meets Milva at a bar and gets her to confess her affair with Seppo, who has moved to Brussels. Tuula tries to understand their relationship, she wants to see Seppo through Milva’s eyes.

Scene 12
Milva goes to Brussels to meet Seppo. She persuades him to play a game that reveals his fear of death. Unaware, he confesses his deep love for her. She is shocked, but happy.

Scene 13
At the home for the aged Tuula shows Toini photos she had asked Milva to take. They show Seppo making love to Milva. Tuula unburdens her worries and expresses her jealousy to the clueless Toini.

Scene 14
Marko and Milva are sailing on Seppo’s boat. She challenges him to confess his love. Marko confesses that he can’t compete with his father.

Scene 15
Christmas Eve. Seppo admits to being guilty and selfish, nobody wants to listen to him. Milva is furious at Seppo for revealing his soul to everyone instead of her alone.

Scene 16
New Year’s Eve. Seppo and Marko are ice fishing. Seppo says that he has ended his affair with Milva. He feels bad for Marko, feels sick and unaware of things and has even left his job in Brussels. Marko confesses that Seppo doesn’t really have HIV and is shaken by the information that he has made love to both women without protection. Seppo gets back his vitality.

Scene 17
Toini is dead, Tuula and Seppo are taking the flowers from her grave. He is going to Brussels, has no interest of listening to Tuula and claims that the dead are dead, there are no souls. Tuula realises that she will never reach him.

Scene 18 (Scene 17 continues)
Seppo goes to meet Milva. It appears, that Marko has left both of them. They try to say good-bye, but can’t do it after all. A love started as a game continues until it stops. Seppo: You must live until it stops. Milva: You must keep living after that. Seppo: You must keep living.

Vid första anblick ser Tunnottomuus (Inga känningar) ut att vara ett pålitligt relationsdrama inom medelklassen. En juristfar försöker skaka sig loss ur ett tillstånd där han ingenting längre känner och förnimmer. Vi har läkarsonen, en amatörkonstnär till mor, sonens fotograferande fästmö som vill betrakta, men inte bli betraktad. Och en farmor vars demens tycks variera enligt samtalsämne.

Under ytan gömmer sig en gåta. Den gäller inte intrigen, den är ingen deckagåta utan någonting mycket djupare – vad handlar det hela egentligen om? Ifall ingenting längre riktigt tar tag i känslorna, hur ska man då kunna återerövra känslor och känsel? Går det att betrakta någon via en annan människas blick? Kunde det vara möjligt? Jag vill inte att du ser på mig, för jag är rädd för att du ingenting ser. Varför söker du inte efter den gräns vid vilken jag brister? Och rent allmänt taget kan man ju utgå ifrån att människan inte ha en själ, men tänk om hon trots allt har en...

Strax innan premiären uppgav författaren-regissören att hon fortfarande är något osäker på vad det hela egentligen handlar om. Publiken accepterade omedelbart denna osäkerhet och gjorde den till sin – Tunnottomuus är lika mycket ett filosofiskt samtal som komedi, som drama.
”Jag förlorade en son under den här leken” och ”jag förlorade en familj” … familjedrama, kärleksdrama, förlust och skilsmässa. Och ett Tjechov-slut. Det är väl fråga om ironi? Eller kanske ändå inte.


Language Swedish
Translation name Inga känningar
Translators Gunilla Hemming
Julkaisija Lasipalatsi, Helsinki 2004
Drama agency Agency North Ltd, contact(a)agencynorth.com

Language German
Translation name Fühllosigkeit
Translators Angela Plöger
Julkaisija Lasipalatsi, Helsinki 2005
Drama agency Agency North Ltd, contact(a)agencynorth.com

Language Estonian
Translation name Tundetus
Translators Annus Raud
Drama agency Agency North Ltd, contact(a)agencynorth.com

Language Russian
Translation name Бесчувственность
Translators Anna Sidorova
Julkaisija Lasipalatsi, Helsinki 2005
Drama agency Agency North Ltd, contact(a)agencynorth.com

Language Spanish
Translation name Insensibilidad
Translators Maritza Núñez
Drama agency Agency North Ltd, contact(a)agencynorth.com

Language Italian
Translation name Insensibilità
Translators Nicola Rainò
Drama agency Agency North Ltd, contact(a)agencynorth.com