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Jessika’s Cub is a comedy about Jessika’s family, her role as a wife and a mother and her panic attack-inducing longing for nature and to get away from the technological world of today.
Jessika, her mother and husband and her mental health therapy dog stage a play to help Jessika confront her demons. The original idea is to show Jessika’s and her husband’s now adult, absent son, how she wishes his upbringing had been like. Instead of staying home in front of the computer, in Jessika’s scenario the whole family goes into the woods to get lost.
Right from the get-go, everything goes awry. Despite their best efforts, Jessika’s mother and husband don’t seem able to create a world without technology that would satisfy her. Through personal and marital crises they are, however, able to understand that Jessika doesn’t belong in the modern era but with mammoths and other wild beasts, and start again from there. Jessika’s Cub is about animal instincts and being untamed.
2 F, 2 M. Available: FIN, ENG
A stage, under the eyes of the audience.
There is a curtain stage front, which blocks the rest of the stage from view. Jessika Timmerbacka and Jari Syväjoki enter. Jari's clothes are scruffy, and his hair is dirty. Jessika adresses the audience.
Evening, Good Evening. I’m Jessika Timmerbacka this is my husband Jari Syväjoki (jokingly clarifies who's who) Timmerback Syväjoki and I er wish you all a hearty welcome to watch this family life of ours and I'm extremely sorry I have to start this in such a pushy way and that my husband is... is he has really been too busy to change into clean pants for he's been putting up such a camera here –
(mumbles, overlaps Jessika’s speech) And I didn’t get my hair washed…
…and there were problems some kind of no connection… to something –
There’s no wireless.
I just want to point out that since there’s not wireless in this theatre space, and that webcam needs a wireless network, I brought a wifi from home and set it up backstage. It’s attached to my laptop, from which the picture and sound goes to my server via the internet.
[English translation of the play by Juha Mustanoja.]
"”Jessika herself experiences the biggest breakdown. She identifies herself with the mammoth and wishes that she lived at least 12,000 years ago in a time before mobile phones, videogames and trains that interfered with her relationship with her husband and son.”
”On the surface, the play is extremely funny, abusive and grotesque. The text also has a beautiful melody [---].
Thematically Klemola examines the hostile myth and criticises the society’s technological fixation. The body has not followed the development and inwardly we long for the woods, and follow the thesis.”
”The biological perspective is questionable – it is also a tool to justify social inequality. It still seems like Klemola is deliberately naive. Primarily it is an existential crisis that Jessika undergoes. It is herself she wants to clear when she forces the family to go to the forest – strictly speaking a stage she has hired to implement a kind of theater therapy. By pretending to get lost in the woods together, they can then find each other in the mutual fight against dangerous situations."”
”With Jessika in the wilderness” Isabella Rothberg, Hufvudstadsbladet 11 Aug 2012
"‘”I would like for everything to crash in order to create circumstances in which people would actually be dependent on each other,” [Leea] Klemola fantasises. Since a total crash is not in sight, “the whole home thing” has, according to the outspoken Klemola, become “bloody difficult”. Family members are forced to think of ways of enjoying being around each other.
This is a problem Klemola attempts to resolve at the Tampere Theatre Festival when visiting with the Kuopio City Theatre’s play Jessika’s Cub.’"
‘Children are of no use’, an interview with Klemola, Ilkka Kuosmanen, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 13 Aug 2012
Nordic Drama Corner Ltd