Poor, Poor, Lear
PERFORMERS: Nina Sallinen
ADAPTATION: Nina Sallinen, Katja Krohn
DIRECTION: Katja Krohn
PRODUCTION: Nina Sallinen, Katja Krohn
When: July 24, 2021, 9 p.m.
Finnish actress Nina Sallinen plays Nina Sallinen (no relation), a 90-year-old Grande Dame of the Finnish stage. After personally welcoming the audience at the door with promises of wine and cookies for intermission, she attempts to relive her greatest theatrical triumph from decades past: to perform a one-woman version of King Lear. Ms. Sallinen will play all of the parts. Unfortunately time has taken its toll on the elder Sallinen. She can’t quite remember the play or what it was about, but it doesn’t matter. The entire performance is a device to chasten her two daughters who have treated her poorly. The young women have not only ignored Sallinen’s requests for help and affection, they are actively trying to get her moved into an old folks home so they can split the bounty of the elder Sallinen’s estate. None of this matters because the two daughters, the “guests of honor” for the performance, never show up. Amidst the shattered pieces of her life and memory and the play itself, we are left seeing the artist alone and afraid facing both oblivion and eternity. In its unforgettable conclusion the audience realizes they have witnessed a potent and powerful reimagining of Lear.