Before coming to Helsinki, I never realized that I would go back to my theater days but this time not as an actor but as a filmmaker. I met Carine Ravaud, production designer student from Paris and she was already designing a Bergman play Scenes From a Marriage in Helsinki. She told me that the director would like to use video installations during the play and asked me if I would be interested. My answer was yes without any hesitations.
Next Monday, I went to Helsinki Theater School, Teak to meet with the director. Marcus Groth was directing the play and the next thing I know, we were already in the process of brainstorming.
Marcus was looking for a realistic and natural way of telling the story. The actors were trained to perform in a natural manner and the set design was built in a realistic way. I knew from that moment that at least the introduction video should act to fulfill the set design and extend the idea of home feeling in the mind of the audience.
But to accomplish that, I also knew that I needed elements of tension because the intro scene had a crescendo. I wanted to divide the composition by emphasizing the difference between man and woman and I used objects that can sometimes be dangerous such as knifes and boiling water.
Between the acts, we have decided to use animal couples, Marcus had the idea to show the animals to underline how it is actually easy to be together. For this reason, I spent plenty of time looking for animals that would match what we are looking for. I went to a stable to shoot some horses, I shot squirrels, swans, dogs and fishes. We didn't really like the horses and the squirrels (although I found the experience rewarding!) and we went to use swans, fishes and dogs. The reaction to these videos by the audience was extremely satisfying. I believe we were able to extend the play with the installations.
To shoot the introduction videos, I have visited a lot of houses. I was lucky since the people in Teak found me couples where I could go and shoot their homes. And in that sense, I was able to see inside the houses of real Finnish people which was also a rewarding experience.
We had ten shows and we had the last play last Saturday on 30. 10. 2010. We had really good reviews which I have shared some of the links with you below. I will never forget the experience, I will definitely miss everybody that I met at Teak during the production. It was a really good opportunity and I feel really lucky to be a part of it. I think the play was a blast!
Below is an extract from the introduction video originally used in the play. Of course the video by itself doesn't really say much because it was made to be shown during the opening scene where the characters are interviewed by a journalist.
Here some of the articles and reviews:
Website for Ingmar Bergman Foundation
On Radio in Finland!
The photographs above are taken by Niklas Sandström.