13 Sunken Years. Stellar Quines. The Finnish National Theatre. Lung Ha Theatre Company. Assembly Rooms. Julia Pascal.


Finnish playwright Paula Salminen’s first play is being premiered in English at the Edinburgh Festival.  This is a touching work about three generations of women who are single mothers but its more haunting theme is that of displacement in your own country.  Eva Buchwald’s fine translation into the Scottish vernacular makes the link between the empty spaces of Scotland and Finland.

The play stays in the imagination because it brilliantly deals with the isolation of each woman and her longing for family and intimacy.  Central is the nexus of mother, daughter, granddaughter but the text also questions whether a female-only family causes an inner displacement to these isolated women.  The text is strong in what it suggests rather than states explicitly.  Although this is a highly theatrical production there is also a cinematic quality to the sharp staging which evokes Scandinavian darkness, loss and solitude.  This was particularly heightened by Susan Appleby’s original music.  Bravo to the triple collaboration which so successfully transcends national boundaries.

Julia Pascal © 2014.