Soon on my way to Helsingør, Denmark, to prepare and perform the queer wedding performance as a part of Passage Festival! With local performers and other artists the team will be slightly different than in Helsinki and this time the performance will take place in a monastery, Karmeliterklostret (Our Lady Monastery).
Performances on Thu 29, Fri 30 and Sat 31 July at 17.00. Welcome!
I feel like I’ve been planning and replanning, writing and rewriting Normal Cake, Please with my beloved colleagues Nina Larissa Bassett (DK) and Ivo Briedis (LV) forever! Well, from 2016, actually, and we would’t be here as happy and proud without Jamie MacDonald (FI/CA), who joined us in 2018. Then pandemic hit the world, we had to postpone, but finally, this summer, accompanied with the most amazing team of artists…
World Premiere in Helsinki, 1-4 July, 2021
Normal Cake, Please world premiere is on 1 July at 6 pm in St Paul’s Church (Paavalinkirkko), Helsinki, as a part of Kapsäkki Goes Pride & Helsinki Pride programs. Other performances 2 July at 6pm and 4 July at 3pm.
Working group: Nina Larissa Bassett (DK), Ivo Briedis (LV), Janne Saarakkala (FI), Jamie MacDonald (FI/CA), Raisa Omaheimo (FI), Kira Riikonen (FI), Dajo Vande Putte (DK), Viha Piirakka (FI), Varanka (FI), Paula Koivunen (FI), Janne Pellinen (FI), Mikko Helenius (FI), Thomas Burø (DK), Beáta Kublik (DK)
About Normal Cake, Please
English speaking Normal Cake, Please is a fictional wedding in two acts taking place in four intimate spaces and a church. In the intimate spaces you get to see two of the four main characters preparing for the wedding. Then you experience the wedding ceremony in the church. The underlining aim is open a space with the audience to queer normality and normalise queer.
The performance is lightly participatory. You are a wedding guest, urged to gossip with other wedding guests and taught some easy dance movements to use in the ceremony.
Normal Cake, Please will be also performed in Karmeliter monastery (Our Lady Monastery) in Helsingør, Denmark, 27-31 July as a part of Passage Festival program.
Background: Pillow talk with the eurotrash!
In 2006 I joined forces with Nina and Ivo to explore intimacy, site specific theatre and the end of the world. The result was the hotel-performance In the Nude. We worked independently and together to create a piece that took audiences on divided journeys through 5-star hotels to meet with the Eurotrashers: Leo, Viesturs and Angela, our characters, who shared a nostalgia for the 1980s and special sort of intimacy. In the Nude was performed at festivals in Riga, Copenhagen, Montreal and Helsinki in 2008-2009.
In Normal Cake, Please Leo, Viesturs and Angela return with Leo’s fiancé Jack!
Theatre Academy has published an excellent book: Performance Artist’s Workbook, On teaching and learning performance art – essays and exercises (number 61 in the publication series). It is edited by professor Pilvi Porkola and it consists of five essays and 44 performance art exercises written by artists from various countries. To me the excellence of this book lies in the combination of exercises, that show how tangible and fun performance art can be, and analytical essays by professor Ray Langenbach, Dr Annette Arlander, Dr Hanna Järvinen, Dr Tero Nauha and Porkola. It is a very practical and inspiring book.
I’m honoured to be one of the artists invited to write an exercise to this book. It’s nothing new, I must admit. “Stream of Consciousness Exercise – how to verbalise all thoughts running through your mind in front of an audience” is based on my Talking Head performance that I’ve been performing for ever. But it’s a good one and worth trying. Now you can do it yourself by following simple guidelines – or developing your own.
If you want to see me doing it, there’s a chance to see Talking Head on Saturday 18th November in Roskilde, Denmark at OoPS Festival.
Talking Head in Kiasma Theatre in 2015. photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen
Angela, Leo and Viesturs in the heat of the fight about freedom. Photo: Paula Koivunen
Yesterday we were rehearsing a cake fight, a scene that’s becoming central in Normal Cake, Please performance. Tomorrow evening it’s time to show a selected audience what have we been able to come up in ten days in Copenhagen. I’m so happy that Agate Bankava, Taisija Frolova, Modris Opelts and Rudolfs Gedins from ARA Dance Company are with us because they are such amazing young professionals and very nice people to work with!
Viesturs, Leo and Angela messing with cake. Is it normal? photo: Valdis Broze
What is normal today and are we free? Besides all the practicalities, these are the questions I’ll be thinking hard with Nina Larissa Bassett and Ivo Briedis in Normal Cake Workshop in Copenhagen the next couple of weeks, and we are not alone. Four dancers of Latvian Dance Company Ara will join us and PhD Pilvi Porkola and set & costume designer Paula Koivunen will be there too!
Normal Cake, Please is a staged wedding party dealing with current issues of political, sexual and personal freedom from Nordic perspectives. It is a liberating site-related performance by theatre professionals from Denmark, Finland and Latvia. Produced by Uneasy Listening Society (DK) in cooperation with dance company ARA (LV), Nordic theatre festivals, practising churches and LGBT activists. Subject to take place in Riga, Helsinki and Copenhagen 2018-2020.
Greetings from Riga! In 2008 and 2009 I was touring hotels with a site specific performance In The Nude with writers and performers Nina Larissa Bassett from Denmark and Ivo Briedis from Latvia. The charaters we created and performed then (Angela, Viesturs and Leo) to portray europeans of the time will have a new reunion. This time it will be Leo’s wedding that brings them together. Wedding takes place in a real church and then there’s a party. Thanks to Kulturkontakt Nord moblity grant, I’m in Riga right now to plan it with Nina and Ivo. Working title is “Just A Normal Cake”. This is what we wrote yesterday:
“Like us, our characters are now well into 40s and wonder what is happening to the world. Their generation was handed freedom on a sliver platter, and embraced all it had to offer: virtual reality, cheap air travel, casual sex, party drugs, easy credit and much more. They can talk their way out of most things and find commitment completely stifling.
Fast forward to 2016. Europe faces tremendous changes. Warfare is randomly executed by terrorist cells, people are migrating in vast numbers to escape devastated regions, nationalism rears it’s ugly head in unexpected places and the ecological damages caused by human interference is out of control. People are taking sides between global liberalism and patriotic conservatism.
Our three (anti-)heroes have different stading points in this clash. In the wedding performance they will take the audiences in the middle of it all.”