Theatre directors gather to celebrate the Big D
Finnish National Theatre’s Touring Stage production of Crime and Punishment has been invited to appear at the Dostoyevsky Festival in Veliky Novgorod on the author’s birthday, 11 November. Director Johanna Freundlich and colleagues Jari Juutinen, Joel Lehtonen, Samuli Reunanen, Tuomo Rämö and Jussi Sorjanen will be making the most of opportunities to network with Russian theatre makers who share their fascination with Dostoyevsky.
“What I’m particularly looking forward to is feedback from our Russian audiences, meetings between Finnish and local theatre directors and having the chance to really immerse myself in Dostoyevsky’s works,” Johanna Freundlich said.
The Finnish-Russian gathering is taking place in anticipation of the 200th anniversary of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s death, in 2021. The author lived in Veliky Novgorod, an ancient city in western Russia that is now home to a Dostoyevsky museum, theatre and festival.
the characters became almost like friends to me
Dostoyevsky Festival’s artistic directors visited Helsinki in 2018. During their stay, they saw several plays, including the National Theatre’s Crime and Punishment. With direction, dramatisation and visuals by Johanna Freundlich, the production went on a tour of Finnish prisons and residential care facilities. The voices of young residents from one of these facilities now feature on the production’s soundtrack. The director says her relationship with the text reached new depths during the creative process:
“Of all the works written by Dostoyevsky, I have the closest relationship with this one. It’s definitely one my top 10 novels of all time. I spent more than a year writing the script, and the characters became almost like friends to me – even the ones I had to cull and now only get a name drop in the play.”
The script has been translated into Russian by Armen Igitian, with Antti Lang, Matti Onnismaa and Elina Reinikka appearing on stage. The visit is supported by Finland’s Consulate General in St Petersburg and TAKO, Theatre Info Finland’s (TINFO) Finnish-Russian project
TINFO / Sari Havukainen, 30 Oct 2019