New Plays from Finland
Sirkku Peltola (born 1960) is one of Finland’s most performed playwrights and most successful directors. She has won several national drama awards, her most recent one being a Pro Finlandia medal in 2018 for her playwriting work. Other awards include the Lea Award in 2002, the Finland Award in 2005, and the Tampere City First Class Honorary Medal in 2008. Her plays have also been translated to over ten languages in addition to being extensively performed internationally.
Peltola primarily works in Tampere Worker’s Theatre (Tampereen Työväen Teatteri TTT). Her plays deal with the modern world and the impact that societal change has on outcasted individuals who are seeking to find their place within the madness. The search for purpose and the self amidst the daily routines and everyday lives of underprivileged citizens are thus at the heart of Peltola’s plays. The worlds created within her worlds combine comedy with tragedy, often making her main characters tragicomic antiheroes. According to Peltola, a play’s topic is only important enough if it can be written into a comedy.
The themes and topics that are dealt with in Peltola’s plays are topical and continuously relevant. Her most recent play from 2018, Pässi (rough translation: Ram), for example, deals with human responsibility and the capacity we possess to change the world around us yet opting not to. Pässi was her 30th dramatic text. The strength in Peltola’s texts stems from her characters’ playful dialogue and rich use of language which varies greatly in dialect, rhythm, and tonality, creating a complex and colourful linguistic landscape for the worlds created within her plays.