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Helvetin perhe (Family from hell) is an intense, abstract, funny, true, recognisable, realistic yet merciful play about family, about the human struggle to move from symbiosis towards being a separate individual... Siblings Eero and Kerttu travel with their spouses to the summer cottage with the intention of discussing how to fix the place up, but end up being stuck there for the weekend after being hit by the storm of the century.
This weekend at the family summer cottage is ravaged by storms both inside and outside the walls of the house. The four main characters are shaken up by the past and the present, dreams as well as fantasies. Being stuck in the middle of nature is a powerful experience for all of them: to be momentarily brought out of the day-to-day routine and the outer noise, media, constant rush, consumption and production that goes with it. To truly come face to face with a loved one.
" ‘In the text, Mustonen digs up the most annoying features of people and succeeds in making the characters larger than their lines. [---] Almost no one in the play has sweet characteristics.’
‘Family from Hell has many points. One of them is already in the name of the play as the family from hell includes people with childhood traumas and relationship issues. Nothing more infernal. Family from hell is a good refrain as you cannot escape the family from hell, no matter how troubled you feel. You can’t be alone even if you want to but you can be lonely.’
‘As a whole, the text strongly focuses on blaming others and analysing one’s self. I would have wished for the play to go deeper. It doesn’t offer a catharsis, it isn’t even the objective. But it also cannot overcome its problems, scratching the surface and a feeling of incompleteness caused by it."
’ ‘Could you deal with a dark stormy forest?’ Terhi Tarvainen, Demokraatti 31 January 2013
" ‘Crashing two couples into each other is a famous way of making the characters move.’
‘The characters are in such a way modern people and of the ruin of the white man that even in the midst of a small natural disaster, they are most interested in discussing their own emotions and exposing others to listening to these outpours. It would be fun if it wasn’t so perspicacious.’
‘One of the characters is an author who gives a speech against psychological realism. [---] It also turns the characters into typical examples whose human distress seems insignificant. The characters are unhappy. In their outbursts of self-pity and clear-sightedness they know how to blame those dear to them for being inconsolable, and those dear to them eagerly seize the words and harp on about the same things.’"
‘It would be fun if it wasn’t so perspicacious. ’ Matti Linnavuori, Satakunnan Kansa 24 January 2013
"“Comic, tragic, terrible! We may move from symbiotic relationships to more separate entities. We can also get rid of subordination with shame.” “Family from Hell continues to renew the family drama that has in recent years been created first and foremost by female playwrights and directors Minna Nurmelin, Paula Salminen and Minna Sarkola.”"
“A strong start to spring at KokoTeatteri” Maria Säkö, Helsingin Sanomat 24 January 2013
"”The external forces of nature evokes the psychic powers of life and then blaring it. A super intense quarrel erupts between the siblings, the brother in law and sister in law. Everybody shouts and scolds each other, expose their traumas and accusing each other of being the world’s worst, most disgusting and most unreliable person.”"
”Explosive meetings” Elisabeth Nordgren, Hufvudstadsbladet 24.1.2013
"“Two siblings and their spouses end up at the family cottage in a terrible storm. The electricity goes out, and relationships are scrutinised in the sharp light of headlamps. The claustrophobic environment incites to burst, like a storm, allegations and accusations long kept silent and thought true by the person making them.”"
“In family, accusation is truth” Soila Lehtonen, Aamulehti 24 January 2013