Scandinavian American Theater Company (SATC) will remount the award-winning play THE FUNDAMENTALIST, by Finnish playwright Juha Jokela, for two performances at Scandinavia House (SH) on September 20th and tomorrow night, September 21st. Tickets are $15/$12 for SH members.
The Fundamentalist was last presented at the New York International Fringe Festival, by SATC, in 2011, where it opened to rave reviews and was chosen as one of two highlights out of the festival’s 200+ shows by The New Yorker Magazine. It first opened to rave reviews in Finland in 2006 and subsequently went on to win the prestigious Nordic Drama Award for Best Play in 2008.
Markus, a reformed Minister turned public critic of the church, is approached by Heidi, his former student and now a member of religious extremist sect, who wants to save Markus from going to hell. THE FUNDAMENTALIST is a suspenseful two-character drama that offers an astute and nuanced investigation of the inner workings of fundamentalist belief. It questions the appeal of fundamentalism next to modern-day pluralism and tolerance, and encourages us to reflect on our values, worldview, faith and human responsibility to each other.
THE FUNDAMENTALIST features American actor Jens Rasmussen as MARKUS and Danish actress Anette Norgaard as HEIDI. Sebastian Nyman Agdur (Sweden) directs.
Juha Jokela is one of Finland and Scandinavia’s most renowned modern writers. The Nordic Drama Award jury wrote: “His witty and surprising humor, compelling narratives and nuanced characterizations are tightly bound to the present moment. Whether focusing his sharp vision on the world of business or the spirit, he writes with deep understanding of the personalities involved.” Jokela began his career writing for television before he expanded into theater. His first play “Mobile Horror” (2003) garnered unprecedented critical acclaim and is one of the most successful plays in recent Finnish theatrical history. THE FUNDAMENTALIST was received with equal praise and the complete first season of Jokela’s latest play, “Performance Economy” (2010), sold out already in advance sales.
Scandinavian American Theater Company is the 2011 recipient of the American Scandinavian Society’s Honorary Cultural Grant. The company was founded in 2009 to promote the new generation of Scandinavian playwrights and produce innovative interpretations of the classics. Their latest production was the US-premiere of Jokum Rohde’s “Pinocchio’s Ashes” at Theater For The New City, of which Backstage’s Karl Levett wrote: “Under the firm direction of Henning Hegland, the cast does battle with the material with remarkable success. There's not a weak link in the chain, from Pettersson's almost-normal mother to Moeller's oily attorney and Mandell's mysterious sideshow oracle. The two leading roles, Gingold's agonized judge and James' guileless artist, are very well done.” Other productions include Craig Lucas’ modern adaptation of “Miss Julie” and the US-premier of Dane Andreas Garfield’s award-winning drama “Home Sweet Home,” about a Danish soldier returning from Iraq, which opened to critical acclaim at the 9th Space at PS122 in November of 2010. The Village Voice wrote: “Home Sweet Home presents a powerful, convincing narrative of a society trying to promote peace during a war, while misunderstanding the war that remains at home for those who return” and Town & Village agreed: “Home Sweet Home is a thoughtful examination of the difficulties of the returning veteran… one hopes that it is a good example of what the Scandinavian American Theater Company will bring in the future.” SATC also produces the SATC Contemporary Scandinavian Reading Series at Scandinavia House, in which they present five staged readings annually of new Scandinavian plays. For more information, visit www.satcnyc.org.