Thursday, 18 May 2017

I am Faransis Dramaturgy: Jari Juutinen @ Edfringe 2017

The most internationally active Finnish theatre director, Jari Juutinen (recently awarded with a 5-year state artist grant) has written and directed a brand new play called 

I am Faransis W. 
from Aug 6 to Aug 27 (except Aug 14, Aug 21) at 17:45.

Applying Georg Büchner’s text to a post-truth world, I am Faransis W. sees the son of a Finnish carpenter flung into a racist TV quiz show that takes away both his freedom and identity. 

Is the world out of joint? Who is torturing whom? How does it feel to be poor? Why is the water calling out? Where are you now, Woyzeck? A new play by award-winning Finnish playwright/director Jari Juutinen, based loosely on Büchner’s classic Woyzeck. 

A theatrical kaleidoscope and a mixture of a TV game show, interrogation and a Kafkaesque nightmare, it asks where the world is going now as we define our neighbours by colour, religion, nationality – or just our day-to-day prejudices or intuitions.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
First of all the "war of the worlds" we seem to have driven into. Secondly I just had to write this one because I am confused as I do not recognise the country I am living in anymore, nor the Europe I am living in anymore. What I see around me is like a brutal version of one of Kafka’s novels: we, the characters are wandering around in a nightmare-like landscape where the incidents seem to have logic - but a hidden one. 

I do not understand how is it possible that we, "the free world" are still running Guantanamo and all the other secret camps where we try to prevent terrorism by torturing innocent people, and by doing so we in fact feed terrorism – and all this is done in the name of freedom and democracy. We have the growing nationalism and people drowning in the Mediterranean like dogs because we do not sell them tickets for our aeroplanes. 

Some survive the big walk and so we have refugees that we do not want since we have decided there is something wrong in their escape from the wars we have given them. We close our borders and our hearts from the dying but keep
both open for the travelling tax-free capital. Capital we have more than ever before – held by fewer hands than ever before. Something like that. 

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

I write plays because I think by writing. My plays are an open call for a dialogue with the audience. The audience for me is a concrete thing: the individuals present in the day's performance. So, yes, definitely. I haven't found a better one. It is face-to-face situation. And if there is aestethics, or art, involved, there are dimensions and depth in it. 

How did you become interested in making performance?
I am not interested in making performances at all. But often I find myself in a situation where there are no options: I just have to open my mouth and share what I feel and see. My way of opening my mouth is to produce a piece of art on stage. 

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Well, injustice seem to hurt me personally even when it is not personally aimed at me. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
I don't want to do usual productions. I like to think that they all are original. But I guess in some way it does. It is political, for instance. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I wish they experience something that shakes their opinions a bit. Both politically and aesthetically. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I try to surprise and to be unpredictable. This one could be defined as a theatrical kaleidoscope. Not only because of "strategy" but  also and mainly because one should make things as simple as possible, but not simpler than the true nature of them is. That is the fact that calls the art in. 

n a theatrical kaleidoscope that mixes TV game show, interrogation and a Kafkaesque nightmare, it asks what will become of the world if allow our day-to-day prejudices blind us, and if we define our neighbours by colour, religion, nationality. 

Finnish playwright/director Jari Juutinen uses live action, livestreaming and projection to take the social critique of Woyzeck and apply it to a world where anyone can be labeled and treated as a terrorist.

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