Theater review Inspired by reality, a gas bill from the Nazi occupation drops out of the mailbox

The play by the Israeli Maya Arad Yasuri, despite its heavy subjects, is also funny.


Amsterdam. Premiere of the Finnish premiere at Valtimonteatteri 15.10. Play by Maya Arad Yasur, directed by Heikki Häkkä. Suomennos Patrik Nurminen, staging Ari Kortelampi, light and sound Heikki Häkkä, Ari Kortelampi, music arrangement Suvi Isotalo. In roles Anna Ranta, Asta Rentola, Mona Kortelampi. ★★★★

Israeli-born, In 2019, the violinist living in Amsterdam will receive a gas bill from 1944. The bill, including interest, has increased to EUR 1,700. To whom was the bill originally sent and who used the gas during the period when Amsterdam was under Nazi occupation?

Israeli Maya Arad Yasur wrote now that he had received his Finnish premiere at Valtimonteatteri Amsterdamplay (2018) While living in the city itself.

The story is inspired by reality: in 2012, letters were found in the Amsterdam City Archives about Jews released from concentration camps. They said they had received bear bills from the city while they were locked in death camps.

Yasurin the narrative solution of the play is at once an ingenious and inseparable part of its content.

There are no characters, but the Actors, in this case three, work together on stage to develop the violinist’s story like a Brechtian play.

Was the landing slid under the woman’s door or was it left on the stairs, as is done in Amsterdam? Did the woman receive the letter from the mailman? No, he got it from a neighbor upstairs.

Speculation and through dialogue, the performance thrills like layers of the present, history, the Holocaust, identity, and xenophobia.

The gas bill is a fairly easy metaphor for how future generations will always have to pay for previous crimes, but the narrative and the mystery contained in the play make it less banal.

The house along the violinist’s Keizersgracht canal becomes a black hole in history that absorbs the tragic lives of all its inhabitants, the stumbling blocks of those who walked down the street from a Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinozasta Otto to Frank. The ages are condensing and history repeats itself. Even the mystery of the letter is finally clear.

The play the narrative solution requires a lot from both actors and viewers. Cast Anna Ranta, Asta Rentola and Mona Kortelampi survive a minimalist interpretation wonderfully.

Especially Mona Kortelampi’s strong physicality speaks for itself and despite her heavy subjects, the performance is also fun.


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