NORMA


Two weeks ago we did the biggest show of this year, when we performed with three custom-ordered acts at the launch of Sofi Oksanen's new novel Norma. (It's weird as it feels like just the other day; but there has been so much happening since and no days off in between so everything just melts together into one fast blur. Perhaps that's a Yey! asit means it will be summer again soon. Trying to see things from the positive side...)

Anyone who has ever made any acts where there needs to be choreography, functional costumes and a working storyline/idea knows how much work it then is to do three. Three group acts. That involves rehearsals that fit five persons schedules together. And whole lot of multitasking (like sewing meters of braids together on an airportt while waiting for the flight home..) Most often you just work on one act at a time. I can honestly say that few things I do ever really pay enough, considering the amount of work one has to put in, and neither did this. But it was an interesting project to work on nevertheless and of course also an honour to be selected to do.

Here posing in a teaser for the event with Minna Kivelä, actress and tv-personality, who hosted the event. Photo by Toni Härkönen.
(..yes it really bugs me I did not notice the old tag on the brush and that it was not photoshopped away...)


The biggest challenge however was coming up with the idea of what to actually do; coming up with an idea for a number yourself is different than from when the subject is handed to you, and that is what took the most time, just planning. Because you can't just go ahead and do an act without an actual idea that has a point even if you have a theme. Or, you can do that if the aim of the number is purely for aesthetic purposes (like say, a dance act with a colour theme, for example  having everything in red) or just for the sake of entertainment (although then too I prefer there to be something of a "thing", like in the previous example, the layers of the costume to be in different colours or the all-red costume ending up being blue at the end or so...).  Those of you who know Oksanens books know that the themes are seldom very light. Neither so in Norma. The main theme is hair, and it focuses on such things as hair trade and human trafficking, and, among other things also somewhat the beauty industry.  Different from the earlier books this story has what one could perhaps describe as supernatural elements, like that of a modern fairy tale. Such elements are easier to put into a performance but the hard part was, of course, being able to use the main themes in a show that would be "easy" to watch, entertaining, still being classified as burlesque (as, that is what we do, although the end result was closer to what one would perhaps just label as performance art), without the risk of being interpreted as something of a too light comment on very heavy subjects. Politician Pekka Haavisto was interviewing Sofi on the themes of the book in between the acts and it's not like one wants to come in with jazz hands and shake butt right after hair theft and baby farms have been the subject.


 Rehearsals and setup.
 

Backstage.

On stage. Posing as old French postcards at the beginning of the evening. Screenshot from the live stream at HSTV of the show. (Recordings of acts are often hard as they tend to focus on details and thus the big picture goes missing.)

Perfect hair, perfect life. At the salon. Screencapture from HSTV.

With lots of hair draped around. (Photo from Iltasanomatby Jussi Helttunen.)

Shot from our final number, where I am shooting my confetti gun with dedication.
More things in life should end in a confetti rain. (Iltasanomat/Helttunen)

And we got good feedback. Phew!

Ending this with a fangirl pic with Oksanen and Haavisto. (And yes those boobs are faux. Just one detail that adds on during the act, but they seemed to be the one ting definitely noticed. Even made it to the evening press...)
Photo from @sofioksanen by Toni Härkönen.


BITS OF BERLIN


Rather small bits as my trip this time mainly consisted on the way between our Air Bn'B flat and the venues, stops by the closest falafel (four in four days!) stand and sewing for and reharsing another upcoming show at the apartment... Plus not bringing my camera with me either. Because of that and the late shows it was a rather tiring trip, which you notice when you are standing in confetti rain with people cheering and you don't really feel a thing except for that your make laysheavy and your feet feet aching. (And get a heay flu when you return home.)

Having that said, it was of course fun still - I do love Berlin!

I can't believe it's been five years since my last trip to Berlin. Went there a bit more often in the early 00's. Which is ten years ago. Ten years and beyond. (Scary, isn't it! Also, looking at old photos, damn one can age in five years.)

Rehearsal at Heimathafen.

Here's a shot of the number in question live, performed by Mama Ulita.

Backstage.



And onstage.

In between I had a little change to meet up with Frollein von Sofa for lunch in the sunshine!

An awesome lunch that is (here).



Wintergarten, the venue for the following nights, was just incredible. So pretty, with starts in the ceiling and old costumes and posters on the wall.

The backstage however not quite so for the moment. The inner yeard and containers.The glamour of showlife...

More rehersals/ soundchecking, which often is mainly just waiting. We did some chorus girl bathtubbing in those tubs on Saturday.

 This was beautiful. Sheila Wolf on Friday.

And this was totally fab. Tansy on Saturday.


And we came to realize that we actually celebrated seven years of performing on this very weekend!

Live photos by Tuomas Lairila.
Final shot of us taking a bow at the curtain call by IndieBerlin.


BITS OF BERLIN


Rather small bits as my trip this time mainly consisted on the way between our Air Bn'B flat and the venues, stops by the closest falafel (four in four days!) stand and sewing for and reharsing another upcoming show at the apartment... Plus not bringing my camera with me either. Because of that and the late shows it was a rather tiring trip, which you notice when you are standing in confetti rain with people cheering and you don't really feel a thing except for that your make laysheavy and your feet feet aching. (And get a heay flu when you return home.)

Having that said, it was of course fun still - I do love Berlin!

I can't believe it's been five years since my last trip to Berlin. Went there a bit more often in the early 00's. Which is ten years ago. Ten years and beyond. (Scary, isn't it! Also, looking at old photos, damn one can age in five years.)

Rehearsal at Heimathafen.

Here's a shot of the number in question live, performed by Mama Ulita.

Backstage.



And onstage.

In between I had a little change to meet up with Frollein von Sofa for lunch in the sunshine!

An awesome lunch that is (here).



Wintergarten, the venue for the following nights, was just incredible. So pretty, with starts in the ceiling and old costumes and posters on the wall.

The backstage however not quite so for the moment. The inner yeard and containers.The glamour of showlife...

More rehersals/ soundchecking, which often is mainly just waiting. We did some chorus girl bathtubbing in those tubs on Saturday.

 This was beautiful. Sheila Wolf on Friday.

And this was totally fab. Tansy on Saturday.


And we came to realize that we actually celebrated seven years of performing on this very weekend!

Live photos by Tuomas Lairila.
Final shot of us taking a bow at the curtain call by IndieBerlin.