New Plays from Finland
Lauri Maijala (born 1986) is a Finnish theatre director and musician based in Helsinki who has also worked in scriptwriting and acting. He completed his M.A. in directing at the Helsinki Theatre Academy. Maijala has worked as the theatre director and co-artistic director of KOM Theatre from 2014-2018, and he will be returning to this position in 2021. Between 2019-2021 he is working as the artistic director of Helsinki City Theatre, the same theatre in which his parents were long-term professional actors. He has also worked in the film industry, being most recognized for screenwriting and directing The Hangover Diaries (Juoppohullun Päiväkirja) in 2012.
Maijala has a unique and unapologetic way of making theatre. Viewers who are familiar with his work know to expect provocation, unruly interpretations, and turning accepted norms on their heads by subverting expectations. He unsparingly deals with topics like society and history but emphasizes the fact that he never creates these performances in order to simply aggravate audiences; instead, he aims to explore and challenge the current chauvinist world order through the lens of art.
Maijala often uses the classics as a canvas, bringing their themes into the present day. Examples of this include his interpretations of The Seven Brothers (Seitsemän Veljestä) in 2017, The Unknown Soldier (Tuntematon Sotilas) opera version in 2014, and the carnivalesque play about Finland’s ex-president, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, at the very beginning of his directorial career in 2007 named Mannerheim – eli lapsistas ei mitään (rough translation: Mannerheim – so nothing about your kids).