The Family Member (2011)
The Family Member is a play about a theatre family who choose work over each other’s company. Sarkola’s play is a witty and intelligent look at the world of theatre, the acting profession, and the burden given to the children of actors. Exploring one’s need to succeed and the pressures that it brings, The Family Member allows the audience a glimpse into the realities that exist behind the curtain. Theatre Takomo’s production, directed by Sarkola herself, won the 2012 Thalia Award as the best Finnish performance of the year.
2 F, 2 M. Available: FIN, SE, EN (synopsis)
Four actors enter the stage and sit down in front of the curtain. One of them, a man, wishes the audience welcome. Another one, a woman, interrupts him by saying:
Don’t believe him. He just works here. He’s just performing.
And what were you thinking of doing here?
I hope it is. And tragic. Perhaps with even a touch of pathos.
Sounds promising. And what role had you been thinking I’d be performing in this?
And from whose point of view?
In other words, the bad father?
Is that what you’re afraid of?
I’m not afraid of anything.
My father, by the way, is afraid of almost nothing. My father is really fearless.
Besides, it’s far more interesting playing the bad guy than the good guy.
Yes, Yes. Hopefully this won’t be a question of who’s bad and who’s good. You know I don’t believe in that. I think we all contain both bad and good, in about equal amounts. And anyone who imagines anything different lives in self-deception./---/
Etc. There follows a discussion between the Woman and the Father on the fundamental nature of man and his need to play a person characterized by goodwill as well the question of defining performance and the true nature of man. As the supporter of the new school of performance, the Woman claims that the performance to follow will be reality, fragments of reality, where as the Father, who is actor by trade, defends storytelling and fiction as the most meaningful ways for theatre to reach its audience.
"“[The Family Member] is not a fairytale of unification where everyone loves everyone at the end, as The Family Member’s idea of man holds on to scepticism. Life is tough, even when it’s well portrayed.”"
“Know a cold dad” – Matti Linnavuori, Satakunnan Kansa, 7 November 2011
"The Family Member combines contemporary analysis with the denominational qualities of a modern human painfully aware of himself - in a dumbfounding way.”
“The Family Member is a description of a father relationship consisting of seemingly everyday observations, which expands to great themes, like Knausgård’s Min Kamp.”
“The Family Member is a truly great dramatic text. The observations are so accurate that they do not need to be seasoned with flashy effects. There are no empty moments or loose lines in the entity.”"
“Dumbfounding description of a relationship with a father” – Maria Säkö, Helsingin Sanomat, 8 November 2011
"”Till en början grips jag av en sensationslystnad som emellertid snabbt släpper. Texten är nämligen så bra […] att parallellerna till verkligheten kvittar.”
”Pjäsen lyckas också göra det privata samhälleligt – det är alltid någon som måste diska efter dig […].”"
”Rörande autofiktion om fäder och döttrar” – Isabella Rothberg, Hufvudstadsbladet, 10.11.2011