My first work of theatre in four years! Come and see!
A documentary theatre performance about a fate of a small city in Southern Finland seen through the lenses of one of it’s most well known inhabitant, media person, presenter and comedian mr Janne Kataja.
Janne Katajan Riihimäki cuts through the last 37 years of Riihimäki’s history and focuses on the tragedy of 1990’s depression that broke the city’s identity. Simultaneously it tells the story of Kataja, how he became who he is today and what role Riihimäki played in his upbringing.
The script is largely based on interviews with Kataja and other Riihimäki dwellers. How Kataja and people on the streets envision Riihimäki’s future form the main conflict of the play. Kataja’s vision is fantastic, to him Riihimäki is a picturesque French village full of colour and hope. Compared to that passer-bys’ outlook is gritty. Realistic, some might say. From their point of view Kataja is just a lucky duck but, actually, he has done great many things to build a better Riihimäki.
In 1997 Riihimäki became the Easter Capital of Finland. 17-year-old Kataja created an Easter mascot for the celebrations. It was a bunny called Eko-Riksu. The city employed Kataja to play Eko-Riksu in various functions for several years. Riksu is the city’s nickname, Eko refers to the ecological brand it tried to build back then. Riihimäki was ahead of it’s time. Unfortunately being eco-friendly took more than a decade to become fashionable, profitable business, and the idea was buried. Riihimäki remains Easter Capital but it’s true identity, or brand, is yet to be found…
On stage you get to see Janne and other Riihimäki characters played by three marvellous actors – Riku Korhonen, Katja Peacock, Maija Siljander. Eko-Riksu the Easter Bunny and another contemporary Riihimäki celebrity, actor Aku Hirviniemi, is played by the amazing Tatu Mönttinen. Eko-Riksu tries make his come back on stage but in the end of the day the three Jannes run the show…
Janne Katajan Riihimäki is written by Taija Helminen and directed by me. Stage and costume design by Paula Koivunen, light design by Sami Rauhala and sound design by Kari Paukola. Another star from Riihimäki, singer/songwriter Samae Koskinen, has composed a song exclusively for the performance.
All photos by Aki Loponen.