The Year of the Hare
The Year of the Hare
Based on Arto Paasilinna’s novel
Authors: ARTO PAASILINNA, KRISTIAN SMEDS
Dramatist & director: KRISTIAN SMEDS
Translation: TAAVI EELMAA
Sound and video: VILLE HYVÖNEN
Assistants: TAAVET JANSEN, SHARLENE HARVARD YOUNG
Set and costume design: ANNE-MAI HEIMOLA, KRISTIAN SMEDS
Technical realisation: ENAR TARMO, LAURI SEPP, JANNO JAANUS
Co-producer: festival “BALTIC CIRCLE”
Cast: MARI ABEL, ERKI LAUR, RIINA MAIDRE, TAAVI EELMAA, JUHAN ULFSAK
Premiere: October 31st, 2005
duration: 2 hours and 40 minutes with intermission
COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE VON KRAHL THEATRE AND KRISTIAN SMEDS
For many years we have searched possibilities for collaboration with the head of the Von Krahl Theatre, Peeter Jalakas . During this time I have seen several performances of the Von Krahl Theatre and the Von Krahl ensemble has seen mine.
Mutual sympathy towards each others’ works has been a fertile soil for ideas and plans of common work. During the past years (20012004) I have worked in Northern Finland as a head of the Kajaani city theatre and this obligation has hold back earlier collaboration from my side. When I quit the job in June 2004, the collaborative worked started to seem real.
The main question is, of course, what to do, and why.
Arto Paasilinna’s novel “The Year of the Hare” is Finnish classics. The novel, written in 1975, is much read and beloved work in Finland . And the film, based on the book and directed by Risto Jarva, is the favourite of the whole nation. “The Year of a Rabbit” is about a total change of life of a journalist, who is tired of life and cynical in nature. This is a naīve story of one man’s journey with a young hare through Finland . The pilgrimage starts from clamorous South-West Finland and ends in the peaceful glades of Lapland . Being on the road with the hare, the man meets many very different, weird, funny, lost, but still free and happy pseudo citizens.
Our performance is a theatre fairy-tale for adults. This is a stage fantasy, escapist love poem to nature and freedom. This is a staged nostalgic blues and a chubby slice of rye bread for the always hungry romantics. Maybe it is everything that is despised and rejected by the result-oriented and practical present day. Nowadays even art must be cynical, intellectual, and strong to become appreciated and credible. “The Year of a Rabbit” is lively and concrete objection to such frame of mind.
We do naivistic theatre. Let Andrei Tarkovski’s idea “Art is fulfilment of dreams” be the artistic-philosophical motto of this work. And let the other motto come from the mouth of my dead Lapland grandmother: “Don’t whine, sonny”.
According to my personal experience, the world, in which we live as humans, work, and grow our children with hopeless stubbornness, is changing more and more stronger, colder, effective, and op press ive. There is a lot of discussion about the thought, that children and young people are deprived of childhood. Result oriented thinking of school systems, fashion and porn industry thriving all around, all this is reality. Parents’ work days become longer time after time, or they fall into sourness and alcoholism as unemployed. Children grow up in an environment, where safe and sound grown-ups don’t exist.
Adults would have the strength to be adults, if they were given a chance to feel themselves as children sometimes. Moments must be created, when they could believe in this different kind of world. The world, where daydreams and dreams meet. Where the wavelength of fairy-tales, miracles, and romance is reality.
This is the mission and main question of “The Year of the Hare”: to create a fairy-tale-like world for grown-ups, that they can fall in love for a moment. To be and feel themselves like children and yet think like adults. The question does not lie in pure escapism after all. Rather in conscious perceiving, that an important part of life is perishing in our society. And we need it, especially us, the grown-ups, and those who plan to grow up. So that we would have the strength to raise our children to believe in goodness, beauty, humanity, and the momentary possibility of happiness.
I am bored of such contemporary theatre (that I have done myself a lot), that tries to compete with the world in it’s strength, cynicism, and coldness. In “The Year of the Hare” is another kind of challenge and possibility: to give a clear, warm and smiley hug to the audience. Performance, that would make the audience happy, if everything goes well. And strength to believe one more decisive day or week to the idea, that we can save the world to be a place worth living for our children. Without the help from extra terrestrial life forms. And I say it without joking.
16th of February 2005 in Tallinn
dramatist, director, poro, coal-black man
M 31. October 00:00
M 31. October 00:00