The Unknown Lion

A stand up duetto for a puppeteer & a national symbol

After a hundred years of faithful service, the Finnish lion – the coat of arms of the state of Finland –opens his mouth and finally speaks! The Unknown Lion (Tuntematon leijona) is an outspoken puppet stand up show that difuses the explosives called Finnishness and immigration, and puts prejudices against the wall. Laughter is the best weapon against them.

The Finnish lion lives in a constant contradiction: He is a wild animal, but he is also a key cultural figure; he is accustomed to a large territory, but he has to settle for a polished coat of arms today. Besides, he wants to go back to his warm homeland – but there he would be nothing but a small lion in the huge, lion-filled savannah. In Finland, he is, in fact, the Finnish lion, one and only. How to live with this contradictive identity?

The unknown lion is a taking a hilarious stand in support of a different, original, Finnish lion. Because the Finnish lion – no matter how much some try to twist the facts around – is an immigrant.

“In its own original satirically flavoured Falke-ish way the show comments immigration, Finnishness and insensitive use of political power (…) as in Falke’s former solo shows, the theme works rather as an inspiration, from the core of the performance – a virtuose contemporary puppetry form – is created. The rhythm of the play, which is composed of scene fragments, is well flowing. The big scale lion with his long limbs and lively head is being manipulated with precisness and it is a joy to follow its gestically expressive movement” -Anniina Karhu, Turun Sanomat 29.04.2018

Manuscript, director and performer: Ishmael Falke
Assistant director: Aati Saarva
Puppet construction: Hanne Lammi and Ishmael Falke
Sound Design: Niklas Nybom
Lighting Design: Jarkko Forsman
Dramaturgy consulting: Ville Kurki
Graphic Design: Niklas Nybom and Jussi Virkkumaa
Production: Grus Grus Teatteri

Premiere: 27.4.2018 at TEHDAS teatteri, Turku

Following high demand, there were more performances in February 2019 in the Turku City Theatre.

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