Sunday. A perfect day, clearly autumn: grey, drizzly and slightly hungover. I am walking alone along the Aura River while the day is turning to night, on my way to Turun Ylioppilasteatteri (the university theatre). Although my understanding of Finnish language is limited, I have found it very enjoyable to go to the theatre and see plays spoken in Finnish. Because theatre is such a visual art form as well as literate, you can make your own sense out of it without understanding everything that is said.
In the hallway I gather with many others who are waiting to see the performance. The space is decorated with small notes hanging from lines that are crossing the room at head level. The audience is invited to share a feeling of belonging on those notes. When did you feel like you were part of something? Individuals come together as a group- an audience, about to share a cultural experience. This shared experience is something unique, and although we each have our own interpretations of that experience, being part of an audience gives individuals a sense of belonging.
Especially in the light of the play Täydellinen Päivä, this shared experience can become valuable. The play, translated as A Perfect Day, presents the idea and feeling of loneliness in different ways. Besides the conventional separation between the audience and the stage, the space on stage is also divided in four separate rooms. In three of the rooms, characters are already present when the audience walks in. These three main characters are neighbours, but they struggle to communicate with each other. They want to stay in their own room, which becomes their whole world. The only thing that connects the neighbours is the same radio station which they all listen to.
The play is in the form of music theatre. There is a live band that gives musical accompaniment to the scenes, and some parts of the play are expressed through skillfully performed songs. There are even several scenes that are spoken in English, a pleasant surprise! And the play continues to surprise the audience until the end. The performance succeeds in finding the right balance between addressing serious social issues and making them accessible using a comical twist.
After the show the audience is left with something to think about. Loneliness is often something that is hard to see from the outside but can be terribly painful on the inside. That is why the profits from the coffee, tea and buns sold during the show’s interval goes towards supporting a charity which aims to end loneliness. Specially-made postcards, with catchy phrases from the play, are also for sale and raise money for the same cause. A cultural experience like a play can be a great example of an activity that brings people together and increases awareness of social issues such as loneliness. Täydellinen Päivä certainly made me realise how important it is to share our experiences, and through this article I am sharing mine with you.