New Plays from Finland
Hornblende is a dark and lustrous mineral found in metamorphic rocks: the little piece of shine on a granite gravestone. The relationship between joy and sadness is like that of granite and hornblende on a stone: technically separable, but what would be left of either if this was done? Arda Yildirim’s 2021 monologue Hornblende (Sarvivälke) contemplates this complicated relationship between sorrow and happiness. It looks at pain and depression on a very personal level through the acts and thoughts of an individual.
The play follows the story of Amalia, a young woman obsessed with her old classmate Max. The only problem is that Max does not even remember Amalia nor that they went to school together. Through Amalia’s sporadic monologue, the spectator enters even her deepest thoughts; contemplations of sadness, loneliness, and suicide. Amalia’s father has committed suicide and on a metro platform, she wonders what it would feel like to do the same. After Max rejects her, Amalia goes to a bridge and is about to jump. She has no one, only her “friend” Raija, whom she does not seem to like. Seven billion people on the planet and no one for her. This is until she meets an extremely intoxicated girl who is in bad shape. Through helping this girl, Amalia realizes that she matters too, that there could indeed be someone in the world who needs her too.
The monologue is a self-discovery journey of self-importance. It is not a linear story from point A to a happy ending: Amalia’s story only begins where the play ends. Through the fragmented form of stream-of-consciousness inner monologue, the audience is allowed to enter the mind of a depressed person. What makes the play so brilliant is that it avoids cliches and patronization about mental health issues: there is no easy fix-it-band-aid-solution. In the end, Amalia is okay and saved, and perhaps it will last forever, or maybe only a moment. There is no way of knowing.
In 2021 Hornblende (translated by Eva Buchwald) was chosen as the Finnish representative for the British New Nordic Voices Theatre Festival, where it had its world premiere. In December of the same year, it was also performed as a dramatized reading in Moscow during the Ljubimovka/R.E.A.D Helsinki -festival. In 2024 the play will also have its Finnish premiere at the Finnish National Theatre.
- Sarvivälke (Finnish, original)
- Hornblende (English)
- Ice cream
- Intrusive thoughts
- Reality TV