Author: Väinö Vainio

A modern mystery play

Issue 4/1983 | Archives online, Authors

Jussi Kylätasku

Jussi Kylätasku. Photo: Pertti Nisonen.

Jussi Kylätasku (born 1943) is a prolific writer of poetry, plays – stage and radio – film scripts and novels. Iconoclastically he casts aside the realism that is so characteristic of Finnish drama and so beloved by Finns; but at the same time Kylätasku is very Finnish: paradox is, indeed, characteristic of this infuriating writer, who has delighted critics and public alike. Perhaps the best-known of his plays is Runar ja Kyllikki (‘Runar and Kyllikki’), which was first performed in 1974; his newest work is a novel, published in November by Werner Söderström. One of his most revolutionary plays, however, is Maaria Blomma (‘Mary Bloom’), which might be called an extraordinary modern version of a mediaeval mystery play. What follows is a personal view of the director of the first performance of the play, in 1980, Väinö Vainio.


There are drama scripts, technically assured texts addressing themselves to the burning issues of the day, that inspire one at first reading to predict fruitful interpretations and lasting recognition. Unfortunately, in the Finnish theatre world such forecasts seldom come true. Almost without exception, even those plays whose first performances are successful fall into the jaws of Moloch and rapidly pass into obscurity on dim and dusty archive shelves. More…