For Finns and Finnophiles

PAAC takes Kalevala production on the road

NEGAUNEE – It may have been different from the more typical musicals “Bye Bye Birdie” or “Sweeney Todd” put on by the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council at the Vista Theater this summer, but “Kalevala: Land of Heroes” has grown far beyond the normal weekend or two run of a show.

First, “Kalevala,” based on a Finnish mythic cycle, was written by Ishpeming resident Paul Olson, using the original poem as its base.

Second, the entire production, including 16 of the original 18-member cast, was taken on the road to be shown at the Detroit Finnish Cooperative Summer Camp Association in downstate Wixom for two performances last month. …

Aw man, I would have liked to see that. Not being Finnish gets in the way of seeing some cool things.


About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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22 Responses to For Finns and Finnophiles

    • songdogmi says:

      It is, innit? I think I was up north too late for the productions in Negaunee, and I’d have no way of knowing of the productions down here because it was probably advertised pretty narrowly. Maybe they’ll revive it sometime soon.

  1. stitchjock says:

    I wish I could have seen that, too; I’ve read part of the Kalevala (auf english, natch) and it’s quite a work.

    • songdogmi says:

      I’ve had an edition of the Kalevala on my Amazon wish list for a while, but I might have to do more than just wish for it, like, maybe go to John King books today and look for a copy.

      • zenicurean says:

        John Martin Crawford’s 1888 translation is probably the authoritative version, but I think it leaves something to be desired: The language isn’t as elegant as I’d like, and sometimes he doesn’t quite appear to get what’s happening in the text. But the meter is intact, which is something of an accomplishment all by itself, and most of the mistakes seem relatively trivial.

      • songdogmi says:

        I have a different version in my Amazon wish list ( this one), but it’s not as if I know what I want; I probably just selected what came up first in the search. Thanks for the recommendation!

      • zenicurean says:

        Sticking with that version is probably a good bet, I think. I’ve heard some very good things about the Bosley translation and would bet money on it being better to than Crawford.

    • zenicurean says:

      I’m a great fan of the Kullervo cycle, simply because it’s so relentlessly depressing.

      • songdogmi says:

        I just read the Wikipedia summary, and now I need either some Prozac or some whiskey.

      • zenicurean says:

        I think I’ve mentioned this but I remember hearing about a stage version where they had a live dog running around who, at the night of the final show, crowned Kullervo’s dramatic suicide by casually walking up to his “master’s lifeless corpse”, lifting his leg, and taking a majestic leak on the actor.

      • songdogmi says:

        What perfect timing! Did the dog get any sort of theatrical award for his performance, or maybe just extra dog treats?

      • zenicurean says:

        Hopefully they gave it a medal. The poor thing was probably just stressed about its surprise acting career or something.

  2. altivo says:

    It sounds really funny to hear Wixom called “downstate” whether logical or not.

    • songdogmi says:

      Wixom is so much part of metro Detroit now, it’s not even funny. The incredible spreading urbanized area, this is.

      • altivo says:

        And without an urban center. I know.

        Wixom has a funny place in my family folklore. When I was a kid, we lived in Wayne County (Melvindale, later in Dearborn Township) and my grandparents lived in Oakland County where things were mostly still rural. My dad would try different routes between our house and theirs to avoid traffic or construction. Invariably, he’d get turned around and lost. When that happened, we’d always end up in Wixom. ;p Eventually he learned how to get to everyplace he wanted to go from Wixom.

      • songdogmi says:

        Wixom might actually be a vortex of … something. 🙂

      • altivo says:

        Yeah. One hesitates to say “Wixom sucks” but apparently it did back in the 50s and 60s…

  3. animist says:

    Don’t forget MST3K’s effort to bring the Kalevala to the American public:

    DB may still have that one on VHS… it was a classic!

  4. I’m the dude who wrote that script. That’s why I friended you.

    If you look back on my LJ, especially posts tagged “The Kalevala Show” you can read more about it.

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