A Family History – Four Pieces
by Ivo Briedis (LV), Jens-Martin Eriksen (DK), Lothar Kittstein (DE), Andreas Vonder (NL)

A production of fringe ensemble/phoenix5

With: Bettina Marugg, Justine Hauer, Laila Nielsen, Harald Redmer, Manuel Klein/Georg Lennarz, David Fischer, Andreas Meidinger, Severin von Hoensbroech
Director: Frank Heuel
Room/Costumes: Annika Ley
Music: Gregor Schwellenbach
Dramaturgy: Svenja Pauka

Premiere in Bonn: September 23, 2011 at theaterimballsaal

Family stories are retold or concealed, recorded by family members or serve as a source of literary material. All of this applies equally to the story behind the title “Finland”: The new fringe ensemble/phoenix5 production is based on the real story of a German family after 1945. For a long time it was kept secret until a central member of the family – let’s call him Michael Helmers – entrusted and left it to the ensemble.

It’s a big, tragic family story. And it is a German story, since the Second World War became the starting point for the internal and external homelessness of the family members. At the same time, it can serve as an example for many family dramas that have taken place beyond German borders. What is experienced and told reaches far beyond individual fate. The central figures of the family, father and mother, are not able to build and live trusting relationships within the family after their traumatic war experiences. The demand to ensure orderly family structures overwhelms those involved. At the same time, the idea of the family remains a valid idea of longing. The desire for a life unburdened by the past remains the driving force – the fulfillment, however, is utopian.

Four authors, each of whom has already worked with the fringe ensemble in previous years, from four countries were commissioned to write a theater text based on the real-life story of the protagonist Michael Helmers and independently of each other. Whether scenically dramatic, as a monologue or as a cacophonous textual surface, this was left entirely to the authors, who also freely chose the constellation of characters, the time or period of the action.

With FINLAND, Lothar Kittstein, Ivo Briedis, Jens-Martin Eriksen and Andreas Vonder give family history many voices in the truest sense of the word.

A production of Finland GbR/fringe ensemble/phoenix5 in co-production with theaterimballsaal (Bonn) and Theater im Pumpenhaus (Münster). FINLAND is supported by the Kunststiftung NRW, the City of Bonn, the City of Münster, the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the NRW KULTURsekretariat and the Matrong Cultural Foundation.

The guest performance on 07 October 2012 in Valmiera is made possible by the support of the NRW KULTURsekretariat and the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as the support of the Goethe-Institut Riga.