Betoniyö

Original name Betoniyö
Kirjoittajat Pirkko Saisio
Original language Finnish
Premiere year 1982
Theater KOM-teatteri / KOM Theatre
Keywords Drama

Performances abroad

Teatro Quatro Tablas, Lima, Peru 2000;
Complot theatre(staged reading), Montevideo, Uruguay 28.-30.6.2007

Synopsis

4 w, 8 m

Concrete Night is set in Helsinki during a hot summer: a block of flats in the centre and a few bars close by in the Linnanmäki and Vartiokylä neighbourhood. It covers just over twenty-four hours.
The play touchingly portrays a sensitive young boy’s attempt at growing up and becoming independent. At the centre of the story is a single mother with her grown up son Ilkka and his younger brother Simo. Loneliness cries out in this story in which people live close together, spy on each other but don’t ever meet properly. Everyone is in his or her own way prisoner to both reality and his or her own longings. They consider others as weird, like for example the long-haired man living on his own next door.

Simo has had a nightmare: “His train falls off a bridge and sinks to the bottom of the sea. In the dark, muddy depths he can’t breathe, the grass grabs hold of his wrists.” He can’t find a listener for his dream much less someone who’d understand. Ilkka lies hung over at home: “Before, I used to drink to escape from reality, now I drink to get back into it. Do you get that?”
Simo would like to go to Pusula in the country with is friends but his mother doesn’t allow it, instead she asks Simo to watch over his older brother so that he doesn’t come up with anything silly. The mother leaves the boys money so they can eat out and cuts her own path. Ilkka is thirsty for a hangover drink. He takes Simo to a bar and teaches him the manners of a stern life: “First you have to learn not to trust anyone... always hit women but guys only when you can’t help it.” Getting drunk again he predicts Simo the end of the world. Simo is a quick learner and listens attentively.
Ilkka’s friends, presumably also friends in crime, join them in the bar. They tempt Ilkka to go to Vartsika with them. Ilkka leaves and sends his little brother to the Linnanmäki amusement park. Ilkka, who has previously screwed up a job in Vartsika, is taken to an attic where he finds his girlfriend Marjatta having sex with two soldiers. The humiliated Ilkka now humiliates Marjatta and forces her to have sexual intercourse with him.
Simo, who was sent away to the amusement park, is already at home when his drunken mother also gets there. She is followed by her boyfriend who, bottle in hand, gets inside with his own keys. When Simo teases his mother, she sends him outside.
Simo is outside in the backyard on the run from home. The long-haired man from next door comes out to check if he’s ok. He takes Simo to his flat for a glass of wine and shows him a painting he’s made himself. He would like to paint Simo’s portrait. Simo understands the man’s enthusiasm for a gay man’s advances which frighten him. Unexpectedly Simo kills the man he takes for a homosexual.
The next morning, Simo’s friend Jusa finds a confused and disturbed Simo in the backyard. When Simo returns home his mother and Ilkka wonder at his confused talk. Simo is sucked into the nightmare from the beginning of the play, to the muddy bottom where the grass gets twisted around his wrists.

This play which was first performed in 1982 at KOM theatre has preserved its topicality even until today!


Ilkka predicts the end of the world to Simo:

“Man started to mess up things. When he earned more than he could eat, greed came over him. Nothing was any longer enough for him. And so he invented heaven. In heaven there’s even more of everything, infinitely more. Isn’t that an ingenious idea... When mankind dies out scorpions are left behind. And now scientists have found out that the scorpion is the only animal that can take for example atomic radiation or heat... when all carcasses have been eaten and all wine drunk, the scorpions get really pissed off ... and do you know what they do then? They roll their tail back to their neck and sting themselves to death.”

What do the characters in the play long for?
Something else...
“... you always need something, money or pussy, or something. Something else. And this something is the worst of all.”

Translations

Language Spanish
Translation name La noche de cemento
Translators Maritza Núñez
Julkaisija Asociación de directores de escena de España, Madrid 2004
Copies available The Finnish Dramatists' Union, http://www.sunklo.fi
Drama agency The Finnish Dramatists' Union, http://www.sunklo.fi
Language Swedish
Translation name (Betoniyö)
Translators Pentti Pesä
Copies available The Finnish Dramatists' Union, http://www.sunklo.fi
Drama agency The Finnish Dramatists' Union, http://www.sunklo.fi