The Feminist Secret Society of Helsinki (Finland)
IDEA AND DIRECTION: The Feminist Secret Society of Helsinki – Katri Naukkarinen, Amanda Palo and Olga Palo
ARTISTIC COLLABORATION AND PERFORMERS: Vilma Raubaitė, Austėja Vilkaitytė, Livija Krivickaitė ir Milda Naudžiūnaitė.
PROJECT PARTNER: TINFO
DURATION: 90 min
DATES: 4, 5 October | 19:00
VENUE: Arts Printing House, Kišeninė Hall
* The show is suitable for blind and visually impaired people
“Encounters. Vilnius” is supported by TINFO, financed by the Finnish Cultural Foundation
We are accustomed to seeing the people we interact with. We can draw numerous conclusions from their appearance, their facial expressions, their clothes – about their age, their social standing, perhaps their profession, and their education. But what does it feel like to interact with someone in complete anonymity, and at the same time live? When their words, conveyed through another person’s voice, reach our ears? As an audience, we are immersed in a conversation between two individuals who know nothing about each other, as they try to make sense of each other and the world through words. Poetic, real, improvised and different every day. I am delighted that this Lithuanian premiere of Encounters marks another successful collaboration with TINFO – Theatre Information Centre in Finland.
Artistic director of the festival
“Encounters. Vilnius” is a series of conversations, where the audience follows the meeting of two anonymous people taking place through performers. On stage there are two performers: borrowed bodies. These performers are connected via earphones and microphones to two anonymous participants who remain hidden from the audience and each other. The borrowed bodies repeat word by word everything the hidden participants say. The participants never meet each other, or the audience, face to face – the only interaction takes place on stage, through borrowed bodies.
What if facelessness is a way to more intimate communication? How can one represent another? Is representation the same thing as acting? What kinds of power relations form and interact between the audience, the performers, and the anonymous participants?
Authors of the piece say: „we believe that the performance concept transfers well to different contexts, because of its potential to find out what people are talking about in general, and what kind of things are on top of peoples’ minds. At the same time, the performance reveals conventions of the stage, performance, and theatre.”
About the creators:
The Feminist Secret Society of Helsinki (FSSH) is a collective of artists that makes performances and other outputs with varying lineups – both among its members and with visiting artists: actors Lida-Maria Iida-Maria Heinonen, Saara Kotkaniemi and Kreeta Salminen, multidisciplinary artist and researcher Katri Naukkarinen, director, playwright and author Amanda Palo, screenwriter, author and director Olga Palo.
FSSH has produced presentations, workshops, publications, exhibition installations and discussions, and acted as a supportive platform for its members. Their intellectual work is about feminist art making practices, with a special focus on collective work.
„The Encounters“ is a well prepared laboratory, concentrating on the human body; the various cultural meanings interpreted from the appearance of it; the gender and the complex power structures related to these issues. It sheds light on the power dynamics related to encountering, performing, looking and listening. It is a very good decision to have only two encounterers, and not any kind of monitoring over the situation.
Suddenly there is naked truth being told on stage, and it’s not just easy to listen to. Is the speech private or public? Is the most important part of the performance perhaps the reactions in the audience?
„The Encounters“ is in some way also shedding light into theatre and the overall motifs of an artist. What is honesty? Behind what kind of curtains or smoke does art try to tell the truth? How often the bottom intention is to bring about a naked encounter? It’s also interesting to think how acting differs from lending your body to an encounterer.”
–Maria Säkö / Helsingin Sanomat
..the performance is utterly feminist.
In the performance the gender of the hidden encounterers is not relevant. The show is about meeting an unknown person without prejudices and trying to listen to what that person is all about. It doesn’t matter if they’re a man, a woman or something else – that is left for everyone to decide. It’s about thinking what kind of power a person can have over someone else’s body.
That is equality and meeting human beings as human beings. It’s about enabling, not ruling out. It’s feminism.
–Jose Riikonen / Nyt-liite