E.L.Karhu. Kuvaaja Liisa Takala.

The Lea Prize for the best Finnish play of 2022

The Lea Prize for the best Finnish play of 2022 has been awarded to Eriopis - Medea's Survivor Daughter Tells All by E.L. Karhu. The play had its world premiere at Schauspiel Leipzig in 2020 and the Finnish premiere at Q-Teatteri in Helsinki in March 2022.

The prize is awarded by Writers Guild  of Finland, and this year's winner was chosen by Linnea Stara, the head of  Theatre Info Finland. She described Eriopis as "a unique play, original and unparalleled. Karhu picks out a forgotten side character from the Greek myth, changing the landscape from the cradle of civilization in the Mediterranean to the sparsely populated region of Lapland and placing the character, Eriopis, directly in front of the intruding paparazzi cameras."

"Above all, the play is proof of the unfetteredness of Karhu's thinking. This kind of limitlessness of thought, the alienation of recognizable landscapes and the socially critical updating of mythology creates in the reader a feeling of detachment from everyday life and a sense of freedom. Karhu offers the reader of the play the opportunity to experience confusing, archaic spaces into which the story of a cycle of revenge that spans millennia fits masterfully."

If you would like to read the play, please contact  jussi.suvanto@dramacorner.fi.


For German-language rights. please contact Rowohlt Verlag.

For Scandinavian rights, please contact Colombine Teaterförlag.

Eriopis - Medea's Survivor Daughter Tells All

The myth of Medea has shaken people for millennia. The story of a filicidal mother has been re-interpreted again and again through a variety of artforms, without it ever been exhausted. Now E.L. Karhu approaches the myth from a new, startling angle: the viewpoint of a survivor, one left behind. After her mother and brothers disappear, Eriopis, the daughter of an absent father Jason and a neglecting mother Medea, has to manage on her own. But is she even now able to tell her own story or will others tell it for her? The press and the television feed on the tragedy for their own narratives, but does Eriopis have a voice of her own at all?

This shattering and passionate play lives simultaneously in eternal archetypes and today's media world bursting with stimuli. It is a poetic and carnal dive into the mind of a suffering human being.

Translated into English by Emily and Fleur Jeremiah.

E.L. Karhu

E.L. Karhu (b. 1982) is a poet of the stage. She writes plays that are clear and crystallized in their language and theatricality, yet full of life. Karhu asks us what is madness and what is sanity, how one can live ethically in their time and community, and what is an individual person’s responsibility for the world. Her works are simultaneously challenging and inspiring for their performers and avoid simplistic interpretations.

Karhu has studied at Theatre Academy in Helsinki and at Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch in Berlin. Her play Kuokkavieraat (On the Grace of Officials, 2007) is a dark comedy about individuals and the system, set amongst asylum seekers and officials. Leipäjonoballadi (Bread Line Ballad, 2008) takes an absurdist approach to poverty and hunger. Valitut (Chosen, 2009) is a triptych about the desire to make to world a better place, told through three generations. kuka tahansa meistä -dokumentti (Any One of Us, 2013) tells the story of an individual falling outside of time. Prinsessa Hamlet (Princess Hamlet, 2016) takes Shakespeare’s play as its starting point to examine insanity, womanhood, loss and remebrance, whereas Eriopis (2020) approaches pain and media narratives through the myth of Medea.

Karhu's latest play, Veljelleni (For My Brother) premiered at Schauspiel Leipzig in 2022.

In photo: E.L.Karhu. Photographer: Liisa Takala

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