An imaginative and inspiring journey of self-discovery, HÄMÄRÄ questions how language, memory and myth all shape our identity.
This original multimedia piece celebrates heritage and the myriad perspectives embodied within each of us.
Performed by Seattle’s own Maria Männistö, “one of the most hauntingly beautiful voices I have heard in years” (Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times), HÄMÄRÄ is directed by Benjamin Mosse, who recently co-directed the “glorious” (The New York Times) IMAGINING O.
Reflecting our deeply held values that live theater unites people by giving voice to subtle feelings that can't always be expressed, HÄMÄRÄ provides a crucial and approachable opportunity for diverse audiences to come together in meaningful conversation about identity and belonging.
HÄMÄRÄ is produced by East Coast Artists, a critically lauded New York City based theater company founded in 1991 by renowned director and scholar, Richard Schechner, and was developed in part by the generous support of Finlandia Foundation.
Selected as a part of the international Finland 100 programme, HÄMÄRÄ will premiere in Seattle in September 2017.
Maria MÄNNISTÖ, Soprano
MOSSE has directed over 55 pieces internationally, including the New York debut of the Fisher Ensemble's opera KOCHO at the Galapagos Art Space, Manjula Padmanabhan's HARVEST; and Saviana Stanescu's Innovative Theatre Award winning WAXING WEST at La MaMa E.T.C., which subsequently performed at the Sibiu International Theater Festival, Teatrul ACT in Bucharest, and the Dramalabbet in Stockholm. He worked with Pop UP Theatrics for their LONG DISTANCE AFFAIR in New York and Edinburgh.
He is artistic director of East Coast Artists. For over 10 years he has worked closely with Richard Schechner developing international new work; their collaboration of HAMLET has performed at the Shanghai Experimental Theatre Festival, Grotowski Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, and the International Shakespeare Festival in Craiova, Romania. Their most recent “exhilarating and erotic” (New York Times) piece, IMAGINING O, which began at the Jarman Center for the Performing Arts in Canterbury and the Kerala International Theater Festival in India, opened the 2014-2015 Peak Performances season at Montclair.
For the last 8 years, Benjamin has traveled extensively to over 85 countries, exploring the different artistic practices of other cultures as well as working with artists from around the world. He received his BS from Northwestern University, MA in Performance Studies from NYU and MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama.
Finnish-American soprano Maria MÄNNISTÖ, "one of the most hauntingly beautiful voices I have heard in years" (Paul de Barros, Seattle Times), moves comfortably among a wide range of musical styles to international acclaim. An adventurous recitalist, she has performed as soloist in contemporary works by György Ligeti (Mysteries of the Macabre), Luciano Berio (Circles), Morton Feldman (Rothko Chapel) Michel van der Aa (In Circles), Giacinato Scelsi (Khoom), George Crumb (Madrigals), and Pierre Boulez (Le marteau sans maître), and has premiered works by Wayne Horvitz (Smokestack Arias), Garrett Fisher (Kocho and Kakitsubata), William O. Smith (Space in the Heart) and Tom Baker (Hunger: The Journey of Tamsen Donner).
She has appeared as soloist with the Seattle Symphony, EOS Kammeroper Köln, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Modern Orchestra, and The Box is Empty. Ms. Männistö has performed over 30 solo recitals in the US, Finland, Belgium, and Germany, and has performed and recorded with The Tudor Choir, Vlaams Radiokoor, and The Byrd Ensemble. A dedicated member of the Seattle area Finnish community, she serves as the primary organist at the Finnish Lutheran Church, and performs regularly at Nordic festivals and events. In 2007, she was awarded the Finlandia Foundation Performer of the Year.
Benjamin MOSSE, Director
With special thanks to
HÄMÄRÄ tells the story of Dr. Anna Granqvist, a linguistic anthropologist born in Finland, raised in America, now living in Brussels. When a conference presentation in Helsinki goes horribly wrong, Anna finds her core sense of self fundamentally shaken. Asking, “Who am I when the very words I use to describe my self are called into question?”, Anna desperately wrestles with memories from different periods and places of her life.
Interwoven with older Anna’s search of lost time is the tale of her 9-year-old counterpart, sung in a series of arias in Finnish and Swedish, and seen through projected original illustrations. Awakening in a magical world of eternal twilight where a witch has stolen the sun and the moon, young Anna must find the string of Words that will take her back home.
The diversity of our languages represents the richness of our expressiveness of Being. This is how language, culture and identity intersect; it is also why the loss of a language is such a concern.
Because language discloses cultural and historical meaning, the loss of language is a loss of that link to the past. Without a link to the past, people in a culture lose a sense of place, purpose and path; one must know where one came from to know where one is going.
--Dr. Pamela Serota Cote
Hämärä maa minut sieppaa,
Hämärä usva hengittää.
Ei laske yö, ei nouse päivä,
Väliss’ aika leijuu vain.
Kuinka jouduin niin kauas kotoa?
Vai unelmoidaanko minua?
Twilight/obscure world steals me away,
Twilight/obscure it breathes mist.
Night won’t fall, day won’t break,
In between, time hangs.
How have I come so far from home?
Do I dream/Am I dreaming?
Am I dreamt?
Young annA finds herself lost in a mysterious twilight world.
HÄMÄRÄ: (Finnish, pronounced: hæmæræ)
Noun: dusk, twilight, dark, gloom, haze
Adjective: dim, vague, obscure, mysterious, unknown