Saara Turunen

Saara Turunen’s play to open in Germany

Written and directed by Saara Turunen, The Phantom of Normality is set to open at Schauspielhaus Bochum on 11 September 2021. The premiere marks the first time this internationally popular playwright’s work has been performed in Germany.
The Phantom of Normality, directed by its author Saara Turunen, will be shown to audiences at the Schauspielhaus theatre in Bochum from 11 September 2021 onwards. The German title of the play is Das Gespenst der Normalität. With the exception of the lighting designer, the production will be brought to the stage by the same creative team behind the play’s world premiere which took place at Helsinki’s Q-teatteri in the spring of 2016. The team working on the remake is additionally complemented by the dramaturge Dorothea Neweling and a five-strong cast of German actors. The translation is by Stefan Moster.
The five-performance run provides an opportunity for central European audiences to discover the new-look stage aesthetic developed by Saara Turunen. Through this exposure, Turunen Company, run by Heidi Backström and Saara Turunen, hopes to gain a foothold in theatres and festivals across Germany and German-speaking Europe.
Saara Turunen’s agent in these regions is S. Fischer Verlag, while in Finland she is represented by Nordic Drama Corner. To date, Turunen’s four plays, Bunny Girl, Broken Heart Story, The Phantom of Normality and Medusa’s Room, have been translated into 15 languages and all are available in German. Her work has been performed across Europe as well as Argentina and Mexico. 
Turunen’s links to Bochum date back nearly a decade to Johan Simons and Jeroen Versteele’s tenure at the Münchner Kammerspiele which coincided with Finnish playwright Kristian Smeds’s appearance there in 2012. Turunen worked as a dramaturge alongside Versteele on Smeds’s play which drew its inspiration from Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Johan Simons is now at the helm at Schauspielhaus Bochum.
Turunen Company is currently participating in the LUO development project run by TINFO. Funded by Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture, the project has offered mentoring support to the Turunen Company during a process to conceptualise Saara Turunen’s stage aesthetic, as witnessed inThe Phantom of Normality and, later, in Medusa’s Room. A third play is due to follow, concluding the so-called “house” trilogy, the title of which references the sustained visual aesthetic that characterises the plays. Turunen Company’s plays also caught the eye of international buyers at the Performing HEL showcase which ran from 2 to 5 September 2021.
TINFO / Sari Havukainen, 18 August 2021 
Photo: Saara Turunen
Translation: Liisa Muinonen-Martin

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