New Drama popular among the domestic audience in Finland

Press release related to New Drama in Finland -showcase 26–27 Nov 2013 in Helsinki

Sofi Oksanen’s WHEN THE DOVES DISAPPEARED to premiere at the Finnish National Theatre –  New Drama popular among the domestic audience in Finland

Plays written by Finnish playwrights have been performed in 25 countries all over the world in recent years. In Finland, there are 80 new plays being published every year, and almost all of them are premiered in Finnish theatres.

When the Doves Disappeared, the new play from the popular author and playwright Sofi Oksanen, who has received numerous literary awards in Finland and internationally (such as the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Book Prize), will premiere on 27 November 2013 at the Finnish National Theatre. When the Doves Disappeared is a story of occupation, resistance, and collaboration in Estonia during and after World War II. Translation rights to the novel have already been sold to 28 countries.

In author Sofi Oksanen’s own words: When the Doves Disappeared first came out as a novel, but the idea of an adaptation for the stage began to grow in my mind from the very beginning of the story. In fact, the story demands to get on stage, as it is an account of lies portraying the truth and of the curtains that separate freedom from captivity. It tells of a world that itself was theatre.

Sofi Oksanen’s previous work, Purge, was first written as a play that premiered at the Finnish National Theatre in 2007, following which the author wrote the same story as a novel. The novel has since been published in 42 countries, and the play has been performed in 20 theatres outside Finland, both in Europe and the United States, as well as in many stage productions in Finland. Purge tells the story of two women of different ages in wartime, in 1940s Soviet-occupied Estonia.

A golden era for new domestic plays in Finland

The Director of the Finnish National Theatre, playwright and theatre director Mika Myllyaho, says that Finland is now enjoying a golden era of domestic plays. There are many plays being written and performed, with authors truly writing for the stage, using language that works well in plays.

An example of a playwright employing the politics of language is Okko Leo, whose new play Orchestra – a study in solidarity has just had its premiere at KOM-teatteri in Helsinki. Okko Leo writes politically incorrect text that makes the audience and readers' laughter revealing. In the play, the members of a down-on-its-luck wedding band that has seen better days act like a listed company operating under the market approach, taking advantage of their fellow man and engaging in ruthless exploitation.

Both performances have English surtitles. When the Doves Disappeared was translated from Finnish into English by Eva Buchwald, Head Dramaturge at the Finnish National Theatre, and Orchestra was translated by Kristian London, a translator specialising in plays.