CIRCUS MAXIMUS is a Finnish theatrical group founded in 1997. CIRCUS MAXIMUS is based in Helsinki, but it acts locally and globally by co-operating with other professional art institutions and groups. The members are young art professionals, not only theatre people such as playwrights, directors and designers, but also visual artists and musicians.
CIRCUS MAXIMUS operates as a forum for artistic research and development by producing theatre and dance productions, visual art exhibitions and radio dramas. The combination of the artistic staff in every production varies, but the emphasis is always on the seamless integrity of every element which create an art event. The aim is to provide the audience a thought-provoking and audio-visually effective experience.
CIRCUS MAXIMUS exists mainly in time, although spacial materialization takes place regularly.
PRODUCTION HISTORY: Stage Productions, Radio Dramas, Performance, Visual Arts
1997 Juhani Peltonen: Suomen Leijona
( The Lion of Finland )
The Lion Of Finland is a tragic super-farce about a Finnish family living in a deserted ice hockey stadium. This "poor man's stage adaptation of Independence Day" as an outdoor spectacle was the first production of Circus Maximus. It was performed at the Tullintori square in Tampere, Finland. The setting was based on the Finnish mania about militarism and sport...
and madness of the Finnish people in general. The Lion Of Finland was great show full of commedia dell' arte characters, explosives, acrobatics and anarchy.
1998-> Samuel Beckett: Krapp eli viimeinen ääninauha
( Krapp' s Last Tape )
One of Samuel Beckett's most known plays, Krapp's last Tape, was written at the height of his career. Being raw and non-dramatic, it is very seldom played. Being as abstract and conceptional as any other of his works, it has also exceptional emotional depth. Circus Maximus' adaptation of Krapp premiered in Tampere, Finland in 1998. Since then it has been performed over 50 times all over Finland. The English version premiered in Prague's Theatre Archa in May 2000. The production combines skillful acting and powerful stage, light and sound design. Praised by both audience and press, Krapp's Last Tape has been said to have invoked a unique theatrical atmosphere around it: one with extreme despair and absolute beauty. The production is designed for touring purposes.
2000 Peter Handke: Järkevät jää henkiin
( They will die away )
Peter Handke is one of the most controversial European playwrights. They will die away, written in 1973, is set around a businessman whose emotions are tearing him apart. On the other hand he has to be very hard and calculative business executive to avoid total bankruptcy, but on the other hand he wants to express his emotions fully and honestly. This production was a co-operation with Actors' training department of Tampere University.
2000 Heiner Müller: Hamletkone
( Hamletmachine )
Hamletmachine is a modern classic. Circus Maximus was the first theatre group in Finland to produce this brilliant play. Theatre, individual and society : totalitarism and art are the key factors in this production. Machine is universal and timeless. The production combined buto dance and contemporary music with visual thrills. This was a huge success in Helsinki.
2000-> Miko Jaakkola: Turing
The strange life of Alan Turing ( 1912-1954 ) is the basis of this production. Widely considered as the founding father of modern computer science but also a philosopher and a war hero whose codebreaking work was one of the turning points of WWII, Turing lead an extraordinary life and died in a most mysterious way. The play is a fictional journey into the mind of this extraordinary person whose main question in his research was " What is mind?". This production has been probably the hugest success of Circus Maximus. The production is designed for touring purposes, and a version in English language is being planned for 2003
2001 Samuel Beckett: 5 X Beckett
The production consisted of 5 original presentations of Samuel Beckett's short plays. The plays were Not I, Rockaby, Cascando, A Piece of Monologue and What where. 5 X Beckett was shown in two different city theatres, in Helsinki and in Tampere. Circus Maximus' interest in staging Beckett's often misunderstood drama is well known and appreciated in Finland.
2001 Sarah Kane: Cleansed
One of the most challenging plays by the brilliant but ill-fated British playwright. In Cleansed
five inmates are imprisoned in a barbarous university, each one viciously controlled by a doctor who performs unspeakable acts on the inmates. It's a story about such grave themes as love, death and drug addiction. Cleansed has often been staged as raw and violent as the text itself, but Circus Maximus chose another perspective. The production was stylized as a kind of ultramodern chamber opera, evoking both delight and disgust in the audience.
2003 H.P. Lovecraft- Sami Keski-Vähälä: Charles Dexter Wardin tapaus
( The Case of Charles Dexter Ward )
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is a story of a young scientist who becomes deeply interested in the fate of his great-great-grandfather. While trying to solve the mystery of his ancestor he gets lost in the world of alchemy and black magic. Charles Dexter Ward's destiny is to be destroyed by his own curiosity. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is the first professional staging of a work by cult author H.P. Lovecraft in the whole world. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is a classic mystery tale but also an argument about the values of science.
2003 Sami Keski-Vähälä: Matkalla Bogotaan
( On the Way to Bogota )
Premiere October 16th, 2003 in the Finnish Sports Museum ( Olympic Stadium, Helsinki )
On the way to Bogota is a saga of the rise and fall of a fictional athlete set in the golden age of Finnish track and field, the 1970's. It's also an exhibition about fictional past; how things could have been.
2003 A.& B.Strugatsky/M.Viljanen/M.Kanninen: STALKER
One of the most famous science fiction classics on stage. The storyboard was based on Arkadi & Boris Strugatski's novel "Roadside Picnic"(1972). Stage action was a scientific journey of exploration into the world touched by "The Zone", not another description of the events told by the book or the movie by Andrei Tarkovsky.
The original story tells of a mysterious Zone in Canada where enigmatic artifacts can be found, left there like picnic rubbish on an alien stopping place. In 2003 CIRCUS MAXIMUS was trying to find out what THE ZONE is.....
...our play tried to project the life of the people who are living in so called theoretical science community, and the life of the people who are living their everyday life inside this phenomenon called "The Zone". Point being, that one cannot theoreticize about such phenomena only by calculations, strict classifications and pure "natural" science. One has to take the "human involvement" into consideration, understand how it is in fact changing the whole phenomenon itself.
2004 Miko Jaakkola: My friend Rosalin Franklin
A Small play about a meeting between DNA-researcher Rosalind Franklin and mysterious MR. Strokes. Happens in London around 1950.
2004 Liisa Risu (choreography): Metri
Everything can and should be measured. Measurements enable classifications and arrangements as desired. But how does one define the charm of an unrestricted hand with a spirit level? How are secrets measured? How many volts is a kinesthetic experience? Meter is a montage of oppositions and measures. The artists are inquisitive professionals of dance, circus acrobatics and theatre. They are looking for kinesthetic magic and systems of order. Comic is unavoidable, because they look also in the wrong places!!
2005 Minna Harjuniemi: Totuusooppera
This chamber opera of Minna Harjuniemi and Laura Murtomaa continues their research on "non-classical" opera. Their earlier productions are "Lex Mania", "Che-Opera" and "Vulgaria". The duo's starting point is a performance in which everything is music.
2005 Aphelion eli 86. maaliskuuta
By combining elements from mechanical theatre, visual illusions and monologue-acting Aphelion was a production of devotional research. A performance in which poetics of the basic levels of matter found a form of electrical elegy.
2005 Sami Keski-Vähälä: Pompeji
This tragic comedy is a story about one man, based on true events. Big P wades through his life's significant and astonishing turning points. In what has he believed and how has he acted and why did the volcano explode just in the wrong moment? To understand himself P tells the scabby story of him staggering in a world where everyone is his own god. There are few truths to believe in. Yet some things are important.
2006 Hanno Eskola / Shakespeare: Richard3
Circus Maximus and director/translator Hanno Eskola updated Shakespeare's play Richard III. This new production, RICHARD3, was not interested in the history of England. The main concerns of the production were Shakespeare's unlimited energy, his form and rhythm. RICHARD3 was also a performance about why and how an insignificant but demeaned human being revenges. In the end it comes to: If you destroy my sandcastle my servant will poison you!!
2006 Tuomas Timonen: Lammassaaressa
The question is a family with children. The father, mother and their six years old kids Risto and Anniina arrive in an island where the parents begin their disciplinary program. But things don't accomplish in the way the parents have planned... This comedy can be seen as an allegory of our society - of the modern people who are in the need of discipline. "Blindness is a virtue of great men. The darker you'll view the world, the brighter you'll realize it."
2007 Minna Harjuniemi: Giant Leap For Mankind
A Victorian mystery play. "It's all make-believe, isn't it?" - Marilyn Monroe, actor. "The facts are stupid things." - Ronald Reagan, president. "There's an error in this whole thing" - Ville Rikhard Härkönen, actor. "Why do you ask me?" - Edwin Buzz Aldrin, astronaut. "Miehenkunnon, veljestunnoin eestä maan ja kansan" - motto of The Finnish Lodge, Free Masons. Conspiracion (spanish): conspiracy, originate from respirar = breathe, con = together, with.
2007 Jukka Heinänen: Maailman paras
(Best in the world)
This performance is an attempt to understand one of the most symptomatic manifestations of capitalism: the addiction for gambling - and the passion of being the best at it. How important act of participation is the daily shopping? The money must roll, the oil must flow, people has to strive for jack-pots, otherwise... what? One of the purposes of this performance is to cause pleasure in the spectators for the reason that they don't have to take part in the gambling.
2008 Uncanny Valley
This performance continues to deepen the themes and audiovisual landscapes of the earlier performance Aphelion. The research continues. New directions have been taken.
(in co-operation with Finnish Broadcasting Company)
2001 Miko Jaakkola: Turing
An audio adaptation of the successful stage production went much further than mere recital of the text and became an independent piece of art. A soothing but profound listening experience.
2001 Joseph Conrad - Mikko Viljanen: Hulluuden sydän
( The Heart of Insanity )
Alternative history of marshall Mannerheim's youth following the story of Conrad's Heart of Darkness. This production combines critical reading of history with a classic adventure on the icy rivers of Siberia.
2002 George Orwell - Mikko Viljanen: Eläköön tuonenkielo
( Keep the Aspidistra Flying )
Orwellian mindscape in audio form. 1930's story about young commercial professional's rebellion against the power of money is now more topical than ever.
2006 - 2008 Uuno Turhabuto - L'Amour Prima
Site-specific butoh with Finnish spirits! Pasi Mäkelä's three-year-long project has been produced togethet with Todellisuuden Tutkimuskeskus. Performances in various locations in Finland and abroad. "Butoh lives where the archaic, under ground world and the modern crosses. Butoh is like a potato but it's dance."
This installation exhibition in Lahti Art Brewery was the first Circus Maximus art exhibition. Mekanogenesis was an epilogue to the 2005 performance "Aphelion". In the same time it was a prologue to the 2008 performance "Uncanny Valley".