New Plays from Finland
I am Faransis W. (2016)
I guess I really am a racist then even though I don’t want to be one… who made me like this? Who did this to me and when did it all happen? After all I do have a master’s degree in political science, goddammit! If anyone, I should know better.
Faransis, a carpenter’s son from Espoo, ends up on a racist television quiz show, where his freedom and identity are put under the microscope. Jari Juutinen’s play I Am Faransis W. stretches the boundaries of humanity to the utmost. The play is based on Georg Büchner’s play, the events of which Juutinen has reset in the post-truth era. The Kafkaesque nightmare blends into a radically changed society, where there’s no turning back after three errors.
I Am Faransis W. takes on the themes of the refugee condition, terrorism, and the brutality of modern television entertainment. The play examines the traces that terrorism leaves on daily life. The play acts as a mirror, as we are forced to examine the ruthless events in our society through ourselves. Juutinen’s text allows us to experience what it’s like to be put in the dock for our appearance, name, religion, and nationality. Who actually is innocent and who guilty? In the end, who is afraid and of whom? Jari Juutinen’s text is acute and harsh, yet exquisitely lyrical. The play is unfortunately topical.
Roles: Women 2, men 1.
The Doctor has a bucket and shaving foam. The Captain is sharpening a knife on a leather belt. They get on stage. The hood and earmuffs are removed off W.
Pretty coarse cheeks this guy’s got. Let’s get rid of that unpatriotic stubble. From boy to man.
Well, Faransis, haven’t you noticed a hair in your soup lately?
I said haven’t you noticed a hair in your soup lately? A drummer’s, guitarist’s or a bassist’s hair? Do you follow?
Captain takes W’s head between her hands and does a couple of drags with the knife
Faransis here is pretty dark for a Finn, don’t you think?
My goodness look at the man’s face!
Yes he is dark. From which far away land –
I’m just as Finnish as you are.
Finns have fair hair and blue eyes. You don’t.
You’re not blue and blonde yourself. And nor are you.
Knife on W’s throat
Don’t twitch, the knife is sharp.
English translation of the play by Elina Pakkanen
Nordic Drama Corner Ltd
- Minä, Faransis W. (Finnish, original)
- I am Faransis W. (English)