Scandinavian American Theatre Company presents CONTEMPORARY SCANDINAVIAN READING SERIES - FINLAND, together with SCANDINAVIA HOUSE and the NORDIC CONSULATE GENERALS in New York, a reading WHO'S WHO by Finnish playwrights Juha Lehtola and Kari Hotakainen, translated by Nely Keinänen on MONDAY, June 4th @ 8PM (pre-reception starts 7.30 PM) at SCANDINAVIA HOUSE, 58 Park Avenue (at 38th St). The reading is directed by Kathleen Amshoff.
"It’s very nice to hear your opinions, but put a lid on it. Let me assure you, however, that I value your opinions: I just don’t want to hear them.
Särkijärvi, an archive editor, is given the task of interviewing Severi Petäjä, the wisest man in Finland. For many years, however, Petäjä hasn’t said anything original.
But then it turns out that Särkijärvi is in fact Fjodor Dostojevski, the 182-year-old writer, and now it’s his turn to answer the burning questions of the day and show Finland the way forward.
Meanwhile, Jontte, a tech support guy, is trying to help Vladimir Putin, who cannot find Chechnya. Rinkinen, a managing editor, is also lost, trying to find himself in the left pocket of a sweatsuit.
“Who’s Who” (2009) is a razor light and sharp-as-a-feather contemporary comedy depicts a society trying to find its place, desperately wanting some genius to reveal the truth—as long as it’s the truth they want to hear. Hotakainen and Lehtola’s penetrating observations of the present day are couched in humor so twisted that it begins to look straight when compared to the world around us.
Juha Lehtola (b. 1966) writes intelligent and thoughtful comedies about contemporary life, tinged with melancholy. In addition to plays and theatrical adaptations, Lehtola's oeuvre also includes translations and television screenplays. In 1995, Lehtola received the Finnish Critics' Award, and in 1998 the Young Arts in Finland Award. Lehtola has won the Venla Award for Excellence in Television, in 2003, for the film Nainen kedolla (Woman in the Meadow) and, in 2007, for the TV-mini series Rakkauden nälkä (Hunger for Love). Lehtola's first play Mielen kieli (Mind Speak 1994) examines people's goals and the ways they become dependent upon one another. Its main characters are a cosmonaut forgotten in space and a woman travelling around the globe. Tulkaa tytöt takaisin (Please, Come Back Girls! 1998) and Loppuun asti lystikkäät
(Exit Laughing 2001) depict complex family relationships and people who cannot get unstuck from each other. Othellohyrrä (Spinning Othello 2001) sets Shakespeare's tragedy in the contemporary world of business, turning it into tragicomedy.
Kari Hotakainen (b. 1957) is one of Finland's most significant and popular novelists, whose work includes poetry, children's literature and drama for the stage, television and radio. He writes about deadly serious people who come into conflict with the demands of the world around them. Hotakainen is especially known for his ironic humour, as well as his rich and rhythmic language. Hotakainen's best known and most successful novel, Juoksuhaudantie (Trench Road) won the Finlandia Prize in 2002 and the Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2004. This story about a man who tries to bring his family back together by buying a single family home has thus far been translated into 13 languages. It was made into a movie in 2004 by Veikko Aaltonen. Taking its cues from science fiction, Hotakainen's novel Bronks (1993) depicts what happens when the well-to-do and marginalized members of society crash. Hotakainen's first play, Hukassa on hyvä paikka (It's Good to Go Missing, 2000) is a children's musical, with music composed by a leading Finnish musical artist, Iiro Rantala. It tells the story of a single-parent father, his inordinately strong son and their life in an apartment in one of Helsinki's seedier suburbs. Hotakainen's Nordic Drama Awardwinning play, Punahukka (Border Crossing, 2005), is a comedy about an ordinary middle-aged man who finds religion, along with mercy and forgiveness.
Enterance and drinks are free.