One of the intellectual highlights of the upcoming season in the theatres in Helsinki will be an opera or musical “HOMO!” in the Finnish National Theatre (Kansallisteatteri). Written and directed by Pirkko Saisio and composed by Jussi Tuurna, the performance will be depicting an era when the Finnish national church has disintegrated, Finland has been split into two camps and the gays and lesbians have chosen not to be “nice” any longer.
How far in the future that time will be is not clear, but against the backdrop of recent societal and political developments in Finland, it may not be that far.
In the current public debate that endangers equality in Finland those defending the current situation and demanding improvements have been rather modest in their choice of language and behavior. While, in the wake of the wide support given to populist conservative stands in the spring 2011 election in Finland, the tone of anti-HLBT comments in public and in social media in Finland have largely stepped out of the realm of political correctness. The play “HOMO!” will show what happens when ultimately also the HLBT people become radical.
The writer Pirkko Saisio told the newspaper Hufvudstandsbladet that she was faced with the question what she could tell the audience about gays and lesbians that the audience would not already know. – We all know about stories of success and the stories of harmonious gay family life. – But we do not know that much about those who do not share those aspirations and rather want to distance themselves from the norms set by the heterosexual society.
The Director General of the National Theatre Mika Myllyaho says the play will feature “analysis of contemporary Finland”.
In Finland there is a strong tradition of respect for knowledge and education. The fact that populist politicians have given up the political correctness of recent decades has been met with disbelief and an arsenal of arguments related to democracy and human rights, but with little impact. While the other side has no limits, the HLBT sector and traditional liberals appear to be inhibited.
The “homo opera” of the National Theatre may come to the rescue at the right time.
EDIT in January 2012. The play "HOMO" is remaining as part of the programming in the National Theatre until late spring 2012 at least.