A man whose hair and skin are so light he could be called an albino, reads out a death notice. This is how the play begins. “The albino” is played by a woman. His identity eludes categorisation. In the final scene we will see his funeral, in which he openly asks why nobody ever said the sort of beautiful things that are contained in the eulogy to him while he was still alive.

Characters like this one appear, disappear and re-appear again in the quirky cycle of scenes Das Gespenst der Normalität (The Phantom of Normality) by the Finnish playwright and director Saara Turunen. The title is inspired by Luis Buñuel’s film The Phantom of Liberty. Whereas the film examines social liberty in a series of surrealist episodes, the play drills down into our notions of the normal and the everyday. It tells of our yearning for what we are accustomed to and also of the threat of being different, the fear of standing out from the crowd.

Quiet minimalist scenes, some of them entirely lacking in language but with an eloquent sense of humour, are joined together seamlessly to develop an almost film-like spell: a family watching TV, a small wedding, a woman learning vocabulary, a woman at couples’ therapy, schoolchildren at a singing lesson and young men in a nightclub. But all these idylls contain tiny flaws: the world of this play is a connecting room where everyone is at home and yet a stranger. These people have wishes and fears: they want to belong, not to be noticed, to develop freely or to put others back in their place. Saara Turunen, born in 1981, tells these stories in a highly individual theatrical language, discovered here for the first time in the German-speaking theatre. She distorts what is habitual, creating an absurd world of dream-like images. It is almost as if the quirky melancholics from films by Roy Andersson or Aki Kaurismäki have ended up in the claustrophobic art tableaus of one of Susanne Kennedy’s theatrical productions. What does this look like? Certainly not normal.

The original version in Finnish was created in 2016 at the Q­teatteri in Helsinki and the Tampereen Teatterikesä.

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  • Place: Kammerspiele
  • Duration: 1:40h, no break
  • Language: German with English surtitles
  • Tags: #theatre
Sat.18.12.
19:30 — 21:10
Sat.08.01.
19:30 — 21:10
Pre-sale 01.12.
10-EURO-DAY
Fri.14.01.
19:30 — 21:10
Pre-sale 01.12.
Sat.22.01.
19:30 — 21:10
Pre-sale 01.12.
  • CBplayer 1.2.4
00:00 / 00:00
Videotrailer Das Gespenst der Normalität
(c) Siegersbusch Film
  • German language premiere
  • Premiere: 11.09.2021
Co-production with Turunen Company. Supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Alfred Kordelin Foundation, The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Goethe Institut Finnland & TINFO - Theatre Info Finland
Team:
Press voices:

Normal sein, man liest es zur Zeit auf Wahlplakaten, das ergibt sogar eine politische Forderung. Die finnische Theatermacherin Saara Turunen befragt in ihrem Stück "Das Gespenst der Normalität" diesen Begriff. Das ergibt am Schauspielhaus Bochum einen wunderbar verschrobenen, in Melacholie getränkten und zugleich von trostvoller Heiterkeit aufgehellten Abend.
Westfälischer Anzeiger, Ralf Stiftel

Ein groteskes Trauerspiel, teilweise saukomisch.
Ruhrnachrichten, Kai-Uwe Brinkmann

Vor den Augen der Zuschauer entfaltet sich ein ganz eigener Kosmos mit wunderbar poetischen, surrealistischen Bildern, auf den Punkt genau arrangiert und mit einem durchgehenden musikalischen Soundtrack abgerundet. [...] "Das Gespenst der Normalität" ist ein stilles Kleinod in einer lauten Welt, das hoffentlich von vielen erhört wird.
coolibri, Ariane Schön