New Plays from Finland
At Your Service (2015)
“A person’s character. It’s infinite as space. We sometimes think we know a lot about a person, but at the same time we know nothing at all. Situations and moods change, every day a new beginning.
So what is, ultimately, a person’s character?”
Kari Hotakainen’s monologue play At Your Service explores the nature of servanthood. Are people servants by occupation or is being a servant a characteristic deep in the human psyche? Hotakainen exhibits occupational groups whose services we use throughout our lives, from our first shriek to our final rest. Some accept the role of the servant, while others rebel against it. Who serves who in the end and when are the boundaries of servanthood overstepped?
Detective Superintendent Arto Jylhämö presents a lecture titled “Human nature from the perspective of the criminal investigation police.” Jylhämö introduces various occupational groups from midwives to priests and from hairdressers to gravediggers. He simultaneously ties his presentation to a criminal case centered around the dark side of servanthood. The Detective Superintendent’s lecture uncovers the human mind layer by layer like a Russian nesting doll. You think you know the people close to you, but do you really know them at all? Can you see the smallest doll nestled inside them? Could anyone turn out to be a criminal at core?
Roles: Men/women 1.
I often ask this question when I want to get a feel for the audience: Are there things you would never do at any price? Things you’d never do even if you were offered a huge amount of money?
You wouldn’t assault your neighbor. You wouldn’t even slap them. You wouldn’t cause pain to a person weaker than yourself. You wouldn’t under any circumstances kill a person. You wouldn’t even try.
Good. That’s what I thought. We’re not up to it. It’s good to know right from the start what kind of people I’m talking to.
A person’s character. It’s infinite as space. We sometimes think we know a lot about a person, but at the same time we know nothing at all. Situations and moods change, every day a new beginning.
So what is, ultimately, a person’s character?
English translation of the play by Nely Keinänen