Parting shots: Drama reading festival 2011

22.6.2011 by

JUNE 22, 2011 by Lasse

Broken Heart Story. Photo: Q-teatteri 2011

Just a few words about the Festival of European Contemporary Playwrights 2011 before the summer starts in earnest for Yours Truly. We sat through approximately four hours of text readings per day, and drinks in the downstairs bar afterwards. That’s a full day’s work.

The festival featured eight playwrights from different parts of Europe. Finland was represented by Saara Turunen and her fresh play Broken Heart Story, due to open at Q-teatteri in Helsinki on September 21st. It was an interesting piece of absurd drama, a bearded woman writing political theatre and her relation to an unbalanced girl with a – literally – bleeding heart contrasted the dull anguish of steady relationships against the boundless horror of being alone. I find it difficult to do the text justice in just these few words, there was also a charming self-irony to the piece that is hard to explain.

Another personal favorite of the festival was the play Homecomings (Tilbakekomstene) by the Norwegian playwright Fredrik Brattberg. A middle-aged couple’s grief at the loss of their son is turned to joy as the son suddenly returns home! Yet, after a while their son disappears again, and is thought dead, but returns home once again, only to perish in an accident, only to come back to life. And so on, at an accelerating rate, which has surprising emotional consequences for the boy’s parents… A delightful little piece with humour as black as pitch, the best kind there is.

This was the third year of drama readings at Husets Teater, and the festival seems to improve for each year. There is talk of expanding the festival to another theatre in Copenhagen, and we are also looking into the possibility of providing the non-Danish guests at the festival with headphones for simultaneous interpretation.

Before heading off for summer holidays, I would also like to point out that the Finnish jazz band Juhani Aaltonen Quartet is playing at CPH Jazz this summer, 9:30 PM on July 2nd at Jazz House.