50 years old | Radicalization does not take place in extremism but in the middle class, plays playwright Okko Leo

According to Okko Leo, social media has challenged the making of social theater: “Somehan clears up political issues very quickly.”

Rarely sees the playwright putting himself as subject to as much mockery as Okko Leo In his comedy performed in the autumn of 2019 at the group theater Happy Island.

In the play, a green-leftist, but very middle-class playwright playing in sailing shoes (in the role Santtu Karvonen) slipped into a radical district nationalist defending the natives of Lauttasaari.

Leo, sailing enthusiast islander ferry in the third generation, says the going gets tough plays in the background values ​​have been concerns of the middle class.

“I’m researching Happy island how radicalization takes place. I don’t think it’s really happening in extremism, but in a middle class like me, unnoticed. ”

He became more of a fiction than an autofiction than a purely fictional text as a whole.

“My technique was that I magnified the wrong things and minimized the right things.”

Leo is lived in Lauttasaari for 13 years and ran into excesses.

“Still under the guise of a little humor, for example, there is talk of‘ bringing the metro ’if something nasty happens in Lauttasaari. That is dangerous speech. ”

However, Leo is not a purebred ferry from Lauttasaari, but he was born in Pitäjänmäki and grew up in Oulu.

Nor is a playwright his first profession.

“I moved to Helsinki in my twenties to study Steiner pedagogy. After graduating, I planned several years of EU-related training projects in various organizations, but the art attracted me, ”says Leo.

Sociality is always at the background of his work. The production includes 15 plays that mirror the relationship between society and the individual.

The play trilogy dealing with Leon’s work was started by the first play of his career, written during the Theater Academy. Field (2006). It spoke of two support staff on the sports field. The play has also been performed in Germany and the Czech Republic.

The second play in the work trilogy was an audience success, a comedy that premiered at the Kom Theater in 2013 Orchestra – The Everlast. The text exploring solidarity at work struck with its universality and humor, and has been made into a film version (directing Matti Ijäs, 2015) as well as Listening to the Radio Theater (2013).

The trilogy was supplemented in 2018 with a punk tragedy about the part-time workers at the Hamburg venue, which was also presented at the Kom Theater. Meal. The language of the show, including swearing, caused outrage in some viewers. This amazes Leo.

“Theater is still perceived as a kind of sacred place of upbringing and what is said in theater evokes a completely different reaction than what is said on television, for example. Why couldn’t theater be dangerous? ”

He regrets that social theater hardly appears in the repertoire of large state-funded theaters.

“My biggest concern right now is what kind of software policy is being done in theaters. We are living in Europe at the same time as a terribly big social, political and economic upheaval, but is it being dealt with in theaters? I don’t think it’s an awful lot, ”Leo says.

For him, social media has challenged the making of social theater.

“Somehan clears up the issues of the day very quickly. Theater does not have time for this ride as a very slow art form. ”

Corona caused a stop by Leon in collaboration with the director of the Kom Theater Juho Milonoff to a political farce on populism written with You get what you order.

“Juho and I wrote that year and a half in a hybrid and the premiere was supposed to be at the Commission last fall. The cancellation was a terrible disappointment, ”Leo sighs.

Indeed, the unfair targeting of corona restrictions annoys the playwright.

“With the Korona, it has been seen quite clearly how much the state values ​​culture. The cultural sector has been ready to be the first to throw down the cliff. Restrictions have been kindly obeyed in theaters, and I don’t know anyone in the industry who has rebelled against coronary embolism. After all, culture is always on the side of communities, it is a force that preserves communities. ”

Okko Leo

Born in Helsinki in 1971.

Graduated as a Steiner pedagogue in 1996 and a Master of Theater Arts in 2011.

Written 15 plays. The plays were performed in Helsinki at the National Theater, Kom Theater and Q Theater, among others. The plays have been translated into Swedish, English, German and Czech.

Also authored several auditions and a short film All Well Pekka (2016).

Lives in Lauttasaari with his family.

Turns 50 on Thursday, April 22nd.

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