Puhdistus

Original name Puhdistus
Kirjoittajat Sofi Oksanen
Original language Finnish
Premiere year 2007
Theater Finnish National Theatre
Keywords Drama

Performances abroad

Staged reading, Volkstheater Rostock, Germany 17.4.2009
Premiere at Vanemuine Theatre, Estonia, 2010
Premiere at Celje City Theatre, Slovenia in season 2019/2020

Synopsis

Cast 3 female 4 male
Sofi Oksanen’s (born 1977) first full-length play is set in Estonia in 1992 but casts its gaze through flashbacks to the period of Sovietisation in the late forties and early fifties.

Aliide Truu is in her seventies in 1992 and living in her family home in a run down village not far from Tallinn. One day, she discovers a young woman lying unconscious in her front yard. Zara, from Vladivostok but of Estonian origin, turns out to be on the run from the Russian mafia. By interweaving these two women’s lives and destinies, Oksanen not only examines the searing wounds of the post-war period, but also brings the country’s recent history into sharp focus. We witness Aliide’s past, a time of night-time interrogations, when thousands of families were shipped to Siberia and partisans were hiding in the forests. In the present, Zara is from a world ruled by corruption and dominated by violence. Even the criminal element seems to have lost its way. As one old thug comments to his young colleague: “I want to be proud of my country. I want to be proud the way I used to be. But you, Pasha, you hate your country. You don’t want to be Russian.”

Oksanen explores Estonian reality, including the inevitable shadows of both the Soviet Union and Russia, but her fundamental themes are universal. By linking the two periods, Oksanen examines how history informs not only a nation’s development but also the individual’s spirit and choices in life. The play tells the story of two women of different generations, exploring their experiences with the loss of freedom. How do people behave when faced with very few alternatives and what is the ultimate cost of survival? Is it possible to salvage a vestige of dignity when individual will is subject to outside forces, to the pressures of fear and abuse? How to maintain our humanity in the light of actions committed under duress? Perhaps we can only make sense of our present by coming to terms with the past.

Translations

Language English
Translation name Purge
Translators Eva Buchwald
Drama agency www.schaefersphilippen.de

Language Russian
Translation name ОЧИЩЕНИЕ
Translators Viktor Drevitski
Copies available Milla Palovaara, milla.palovaara(a)like.fi / Otava Group Agency
Drama agency Milla Palovaara, milla.palovaara(a)like.fi / Otava Group Agency

Language German
Translation name Fegefeuer
Translators Angela Plöger
Copies available
Drama agency Milla Palovaara, milla.palovaara(a)like.fi / Otava Group Agency

Language Swedish
Translation name Rening
Translators Seppo Laukkanen
Copies available
Drama agency Milla Palovaara, milla.palovaara(a)like.fi / Otava Group Agency

Language Spanish
Translation name Purga
Translators Luisa Gutiérrez Ruiz
Drama agency www.schaefersphilippen.de

Language French
Translation name Purge
Translators Sébastien Cagnol
Julkaisija Theatre Info Finland (TINFO)
Copies available schaefersphilippen Theater und Medien GbR, Marc Schäfers, ms(a)schaefersphilippen.de
Drama agency schaefersphilippen Theater und Medien GbR, Marc Schäfers, ms(a)schaefersphilippen.de

Language Slovenian
Translation name Ociscenje
Translators Julija Potrc
Copies available Theatre Info Finland TINFO, tinfo(a)tinfo.fi