The Orchestra

The performance

The remains of a popular music orchestra are suffering from a hangover somewhere deep in the Finnish woods. The lead singer has left for a solo career in the city and all they can do is wait and hope for her return. Money has run out, bottles are empty, and the desire to sing is gone. If a miracle should happen, the timing could not be better.

The Finnish stereotype is strong, at least in Europe. Headless drinking, bottomless pessimism, the everlasting conversation pauses. But still with a mysterious ability to party like no other. The real identity of Finns is more subtle, of course, but this show plays actively on general preconceptions. Apart from being a tribute to music and musicians, it’s also a tribute to the Finnish perspective on life. A crisis most places is not necessarily a crisis in Finland. They have a different way of accepting unexpected shifts in either society or spiritual life. As if life is more guaranteed to go on in Finland than other places. Even though it may be ever so heavy and depressing. For non-Nordic viewers, the show has proven to be somewhat of an inspiring perspective on existential themes. Hitting rock bottom in a cosmopolitan meltingpot is radically different from the pitless empty-bottled depression of the rural North-East. For Nordic viewers, to whom the friendly mockery of Finns is a genre in itself, the performance has proven to go beyond normal limits, pratically on the verge of being unacceptably indecent. But just on the verge – Finnish audiences themselves have warmly embraced the show.

Length: 65 min
Language: Nonsensical Finnish, some English
Premiere: Tallinn, Estonia, May 2007


© Knut Bry
© Knut Bry

Previously touring

Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden


Direction, choreography, set design: Jo Strømgren
Performers: Ulla Broch, Gunhild Aubert Opdal, Ingri Enger Damon, Hanne Gjerstad Henrichsen?
Costumes: Catrine Gudmestad?
Language consultant: Saila Hyttinen
Music: Lill Lindfors, Alla Pugacheva, Arja Saijonmaa, Jean Sibelius, Makila Eyina Nzoto, Metro-Tytöt, Vadim Jegorov?
Sound design: Lars Årdal, Ken Ruben Theodorsen?
Lighting design: Stephen Rolfe?
Photographer: Knut Bry?
Production: Jo Strømgren Kompani ?
Co-production: Norwegian National Theatre, Bergen International Festival, BIT Teatergarasjen, Riksteatret, Rogaland Teater
Support: Arts Council Norway, City of Bergen?