New Plays from Finland
Kari Heiskanen (born 1955) is an actor, director, and playwright. He graduated from the Helsinki Theatre Academy in 1979 and has since acted in the Ryhmäteatteri theatre in addition to having directed numerous productions for theatres such as Helsinki City Theatre and the National Opera. He has also acted and directed in Finnish television shows, being best remembered for his comedic sketches (such as Velipuolikuu, rough translation Half-Brother Moon) with acting partner Pirkka-Pekka Petelius.
Heiskanen has worked as a director at Helsinki City Theatre since 1991. In 1991 he also received the State Award for Cinematic Arts (Elokuvataiteen Valtionpalkinto) and in 2008 he received an honorary Pro Finlandia medal for his acting work. His most recent play (which he both wrote and directed), Stalinin Suloinen Ruoska (rough translation: Stalin’s Sweet Scourge), premiered in Helsinki City Theatre in early 2020. The play was a part of Heiskanen’s series of historical plays which share a common theme of foreign states interfering with a nation’s independence.