Zodiak Stage 16.11 – 2.12.2023

Costume design for a contemporary dance performance and curation of fabrics and accessories to a dress up scene. The work was made using upcycled clothes and materials.

The work PLAY by choreographer Virva Talonen and her working group focuses on play and its transformative power in the world of our time. The work is based on the idea of children as experts of play.

In PLAY, we explore whether the traditional dominance of adults deciding what children can do can be reversed. Who gets to play? Who decides what to play? What kind of a performance is created when children get to decide? The PLAY working group is formed by six children and eight adults.

Hey, I think this one should go first. No, I want to go first. But this has never been the first at anything so I think they should go. They doen’t know what’s happening next and they’ll be like, hmm, what now. Yeah, and then these are going to wait here.  

Maybe it’s a chicken? Yeah, it’s like an anarchist chicken. Or a fish that can do magic. Yeah, a chicken or a fish. And then they’ re going to fight backwards in slow motion, like very slowly. And then here they’ll come from there and this one dies and then those two could bring it back to life. I think it should keep that loose floating head. But they’re definitely not wearing dresses or anything.

If we’re here, where’s the line? You can’t cross it or you’ll lose, or it depends on the rules. What if they’re like the guy who doesn’t want to join because they’re so tired. Or maybe they could be like, like who can’t decide, who’s going to change their mind and they never have to explain why? Or maybe they could hang from the ceiling and do some peeping from there and then the others are just going to stand here like hhmm hhmm? Okay, let’s try? No wait, I think they should be hiding here. So, can anyone start or have we decided who starts? And then if someone touches them, they have to leave, or in a special case, they can just stay and then this would stand next to them, quietly like this. Are we ready? So, can they press play?

PLAY is both a performance and play. It enters in different worlds, realities, and parallel realities that are yet unknown to us. In PLAY, play is serious, light, annoying, overwhelming, upsetting, power, desire, empathy, negotiation. There is room for play. Play is real. Play is.

The starting point for the dress up scene, was a workshop I facilitated. Working group members created characters from materials provided to them and were asked to move according to their character.

Concept and direction: Virva Talonen

Choreography: Virva Talonen and the performers 

Dancers / performers: Ronja Bado, Karolina Ginman, Joshua Kingue, Hilja Riikonen, Milja Siirilä, Martta Susi, Jukka Tarvainen, Leo Terävä, Natoma Vaimala

Artistic consultant and mentor for the children: Jenni Koistinen

Lighting design: Nanni Vapaavuori

Sound design: Markus Heino

Costume design: Mari Nurmenniemi

Mentor: Simo Kellokumpu

Administration: Outi Järvinen / Arts Management Helsinki

Production: Zodiak – Center for New Dance, Virva Talonen 

Supported by: The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Samuel Huber Art Foundation

Photography: Sinem Kayacan

The child participants have been selected for the working group through an open audition.

Workshop photos: Mari Nurmenniemi