Multilingual performance based on incredible, yet true, stories from the borderland between Norway, Finland, and Russia.
Stories about escape and homeland, about a legendary bar in Boris Gleb, about sudden gaps in closed borders, about the joy of a violin, and the world’s deepest man-made hole. And above all: What a good story can mean.
Multilingualism on stage
The language on stage is based on the mother tongue of the actors. It varies between Norwegian, Sami, Russian, Finnish, and English. The actors also sing songs in their native tongue, as well as joik (the traditional Sami singing),
The sound of the north
The performance will be the first result of Ferske Scener’s project on multilingualism. In a series of performances and seminars, we use languages in our region as our stage language. Dating back to the 11th century, different groups of people with different languages have lived close to each other in the region. It is said that the border area between Norway, Finland, and Russia is one of the places in the world with the greatest difference in languages. “The North” was handled as a colony until the late 1900s. In some areas, the hardest Norwegianization / colonization period happened as late as the 1960s and 1970s. In most areas, monocultural expressions are still favored. Many feel that the colonization never ended.
The year is 2015. The young woman Anna is not far from Zapoljarnyj near the border with Norway with a well-used men’s bicycle from 1939. In this homeland, the borders have changed, and people have always been on the move. Anna seizes the opportunities she sees. At the same time, her family’s story is told from the end of the 19th century. One branch of her family comes from Nuottjávr (Notozero) on the Russian side and Suennjel on the Finnish side, another from Varanger on the Norwegian side. Anna has a Sami background, without it being more important to her than any other experience she has. She is first and foremost a survivor, one who sees opportunities. She is not a “good” person. She is a human being.
Anna’s bicycle and her grandfather, the jokester and survivor Sasha take the audience in and out of events such as the displacement of the school community, Crown Princess Märtha’s escape to the United States in 1940, Alexander Rybak’s Eurovision Song Contest win in 2009 – and the meeting with the flood of refugees over Storskog in 2015, represented by the Syrian refugee girl Haya and her father.
About the main author
Rawdna Carita Eira (1970) is a poet, librettist, and playwright, and was nominated for the Nordic Council´s Literature Prize in 2012. In 2019 she premiered at the opera Two Odysseys: Gállábártnit in Canada. The show is nominated for the Canadien Dora Award in 2020. Eira has a background in Sami / Norwegian / Forestfinnish with a father from Finnskogen (Solør) and a mother from a reindeer herding family in Guovdageaidnu. Eira has lived all her life in the space between Sami and Norwegian culture. Her family operated reindeer herding in southern Helgeland until 2002. Today Eira works as a playwright/inspector and with subtitles/translations at the Sami National Theater Beaivváš. She is currently fluent in Northern Sami and understands/writes partly also in South Sami and Lule Sami. Through her work, she is probably the one in Norway with the most experience in translating performances between Sami / Norwegian.