Why this performance
Who owns the economy?
The need to create this performance springs out from frustration. There was a desire to understand something extremely complicated and to share this desire for understanding. This complex “thing” is nothing else that dictates most of our actions, work, free time, family, shopping, holiday, health, even identity that is to say: economy. We were wondering: who owns the economy? How is it possible that something so present in our everyday life is something that we have nothing to say about it, that only some experts have the right to decide about it?
The desire to understand this complexity led us to focus on one of the last major financial crisis: the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy which affected worldwide many people and even plunges some nations into deep recessions. And still, even though this crisis affected so many of us, it felt that we were not invited in discussing how to change ´” economy “ and only experts were allowed to have a say on the subject. Who owns the economy?
Stefano Massini’s play, Lehman Trilogy seemed the perfect text to engage this discussion. It presents the history of three immigrants, their first business, how they grew, how the bank became a social agent offering capitals to rebuild a country, how they transformed the very notion of investment. It displays the transition to modern capitalism which affects so deeply our everyday life.
The videos and the timeline
The text of the play is strong and it would have been already enough simply to utter it. However, for this production we decided to take a risk and to add another dimension to the text by creating an extra level inside and around the play. The aim was to use the play’s content as a platform to stimulate a discussion.
We started to interview experts from different fields about the meaning of the word economy; how the 2008 financial crisis had affected Finland, what is the relationship between Finns and economy, and so on. Then we decided to insert in the play these short interviews in order to open up the impact of this financial crisis to our reality nowadays in Finland. These interviews hopefully summon or provoke the audience to provide personal answers to this strange and complex phenomenon that is called “economy”. This is why, in the lobby, there are extra videos, examining more deeply some of the issues raised by the play. (for a full view of all the video interviews, please visit the webpage: www.metamorfoosi.com, click: performance, and then Lehman-Trilogia). We hope with this project to bring back the term economy in the public debate.
Three actors and a musician
Telling this modern epic fable, which spans from 1844 to 2008, only with three actors and a musician is an impressive tour de force accomplished by them. But there are also two deliberate choices motivating this decision. The first one is to point out how the imagery of the financial world is male-dominated. Even though the last Nobel prize for the economy has been given to a woman, it seems that women have no say on this matter. In our production, the only female performer is the musician and she is silent. We hope with this choice to underline the sense of frustration. The second motivation is to highlight the infernal “machinery” of the financial system: people and situations change, but similar dynamics are repeated. In addition to this aspect, physical theatre techniques have been used in acting to make more tangible the abstract and repetitive mechanisms of finance. The crisis in 2008 is remarkably similar to the one of 1929 which was followed by the Petrol crisis in 1973 and 1979, by the black Monday in 1987, by the crisis of the Finnish and Swedish banking systems in the ‘90s, by the crash of Asian market in 1997, by the crash in 2001-2002 caused by online speculation new, and so on. We are waiting for the next crisis.
With this project, we aim to ask the audience: what is the place of economy in your life? How do you relate to it? What are you ready to change?