New Plays from Finland
Love and Order (2022)
19 hours and 34 minutes. That is how long it takes to fall in love. 6792 minutes and 157 listening sessions of Fred Again’s song Julia (Deep Diving). That is how long it takes before the memory of falling in love threatens to transform into a simple story. Pipsa Enqvist’s 2022 play Love and Order (unofficial translation, orig. Rakkaus ja järjestys) is a playful and philosophical look into how memories are formed; how love is archived. It would be so lovely if we could store our most precious memories in floating castles, but sadly this is a wish rarely granted to us.
In the play, an unnamed character has fallen in love. In a memory archive, four archivists are tirelessly working on archiving this most cherished memory. Even though they share methods, they still disagree constantly on what is relevant to the process and how best to approach it. However, they agree that there are six categories which they should use when categorising memories: objects, time, sounds, space, speech and... the sixth is never revealed but for them it is clear. The four archivists are not completely alone in their preservation process as they are visited occasionally by the Messenger, who brings them assignments, notes and questions from the outside world and from the person whose memories they are storing.
At first, the memory preservation process seems straightforward as exemplified by the scene where the archivists are going through memories from adolescence: keep the note talking about a childhood crush but get rid of the three expired condoms. However, as the memory of falling in love is such a valued artefact, storing it is extremely complicated. As they build the memory picture, the four archivists disagree a lot; one wants to follow the rules to the nail while the other wants to fabricate stories, one wants to start the memory from the supermarket, and the other from the apartment. New things are constantly leaking in and from the memory. Furthermore, the archive itself is not perfect as exemplified by the leaking roof. In the end, the memory is finally formed, and it is not an object as feared, it is a hand resting on a belly.
Love and Order had its premiere in 2022 at the Helsinki Theatre Academy. It was Enqvist’s dramaturgical thesis project produced in collaboration with other students from the Academy. Currently, she is working on other dramaturgical and screenwriting projects; among them a scriptwriting project for the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE.