News & Olds

Toys of love, tales of hate

Extra-virgin gospel, the only gospel ever told by sex toys, revealing the unholy His-story of the land some call Palestine, some call Israel, and some just try to call it off. In vain. This extrovert political object theatre show already got many to cry, laugh, and mostly blush. And will continue doing so.

The universe as a puppetry show

I used the “long dark tea-time of the soul” – imposed on us performing artists by the pandemic – to create a book and a podcast about everything. And puppetry. The result: Niin se vain on – maailmankaikkeus nukketeatteriesityksenä (“That’s how it is – the universe as a puppetry show”).

100 years set up of objective history

The improbable yet now real show Inevitable (Väistämätön-Oundviklig) – an object theatre par excellence – offers a time travel along a scenic and manic route of hundreds of objects and a few objectified human as well. Let us humbly watch and listen how objects tell of human history.

Climbing Mt. Average

Full measures – the new calibrated, well scaled and fully quantified piece by Livsmedlet duo recalculates the borders of object theatre and measures just how far one can get using only folding rules, and how far society is willing to go with it’s obsession for measuring.

Of Cats, Gods and human Words

Live Arab music hits from the 30’s, comic-strip-like surreal scenography and puppets, makers from Israel, Syria, Finland and Sweden and a large set of different beliefs were (part of) the ingredients of Rabbinens katt (The Rabbi’s Cat) – a new adaptation of Joann Sfar’s famous series album.

News: the news, on stage

It was time to do something that has never been done before – so we did it. News 2.0 (Uutiset 2.0) – the live staged puppetry news edition – has taken place in Finnkino cinema hall in Turku during October-November and has put together cutting edge news, puppet journalism and fresh artistic political discussion.

Invisible Lands awarded

Invisible Lands has been awarded the Festival’s Director’s prize in the Banialuka festival in Bielsko-Biała, Poland. Banialuka is one of the biggest puppetry festivals in Europe, in which this year 23 shows from 14 different countries were presented. Invisible Lands is currently on a long tour, performing this year still in France, Germany, Slovenia, Norway and Russia.

Laugh (and get pissed) in the Finnish Arctic Savannah

The Unknown Lion – a puppetry stand up duetto for a puppeteer (me) and a national symbol (the Finnish lion) has shamelessly put against the wall the cliches and ideals of immigration and national identity, in Tehdas Teatteri. Following very high demand the show will return next year, this time to the Turku City Theatre.

Life, death and the party in between

The Gospel of Lazarus – a new performance combining man size puppetry, original text and physical theatre has premiered in Åbo Svenska Teater and was well received by audience and critics. Following western history’s first zombie this piece celebrates our silent but loyal, feared, adored and swept-under-the-carpet life partner: Death.

3-years artist grant awarded

I received a serious recognition of my work from the Finnish Ministry of Culture / Arts Promotion Center in the form of a 3-years grant for the period of 2018-2020. I feel old, honored, ridiculous and important. I feel excited, hopeful and mischievous. I am grateful. Taxpayers – i don’t promise to please you, but your money will not be wasted!

St. Petersburg reread

451 degrees, 17 pages, 3 weeks – these are the ingredients for Livsmedlet’s newest project, a performance that premiered 3.12.2016 in Izmaelovsky library as the result of a residence in St. Petersburg to which we were invited by TOK curators. Based on Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451, we created a much discussed site specific work that examined the state of freedom of speech. Details here

Inside the walls of Hamlet

Hamlet – The Whole Truth, the new site-specific performance of Grus Grus Teatteri, specially remixed for the Castle of Turku, had its premiere the 29.9.2016 and took both critics and audience in its surrealistic, absurd and manic grip. As a grave digger – puppeteer i tested the border between life and death, sanity and… mental freedom.

A restless yet rewarding autumn ahead

Invisible Lands visits Lainsuojattomat theatre festival in Pori in September, and continues to TIP-fest – Turku international puppetry festival in November. Trafika performance opens the first edition of Lappeenranta’s puppetry festival in Lappeenranta city theatre in October. Aside these: the coming premiere of Hamlet, and a residence in St. Petersburg – more details coming soon!

Night-time history revealed

The new urban space shadow project Shadow Cabinet / Yöväenteatteri has premiered in Mynämäki, as Livsmedlet theatre duo together with a brilliant local group have high-lightened a dark narrative of history and present. Confronting stories of both Finnish-Karelians evacuees and current refugees, we proved that compassion is made easier when one remembers what happened yesterday.

Between Africa and Finland

Researching the use of objects in animistic rituals of the Vodun religion, i spent a mind-blowing, sweat-shedding and intense residence period in Benin and Togo (Villa Karo), also performing in Tokpa Aizo and Djanglanmey. Cooling down in Israel-Palestine, i continue for a new residence and a community based shadow puppetry in Saaren kartano, Finland.

Première for Zen Gangster Blues

The improbable but much expected story of a Dalai Lama gone Mafia has finally seen the light of day – and shined back through the happy faces of the audience and excellent reviews after the première of Zen Gangster Blues, 30.10.2015, my newest solo performance in Tehdas Teatteri.

From Czech Republic to Lapland and Cuba

Autumn started with a ticket to ride: traFika performance visits the Spectaculo Interesse festival in Ostrava, Czech Republic, While Invisible Lands – with its actual theme of refugee travels – heads north to Vitusfestival in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland. Invisible Lands has just received an invitation for Bacanal del Titere de la Havana, Cuba’s international festival for adult pupptery in 2016.

Stockholm retold

Following performances in Holland the urban animation project Dead Ends has had it’s Swedish première in Södermalm, Stockholm. Local weather gods were on our side as local housing politics was re-imagined and remixed for local traffic signs and for the joy of our local audience. Specially featuring in this show live for the first time was the pop duo Kristal and Jonny Boy.

Successfully stranded

Our Urban Animation team has spent 23 days on the Dutch (theatre) treasure island of Terschelling, creating and performing Dead Ends: Midsland as part of the Oerol festival. Traffic signs were transformed into portraits, into ships and elephants, parking barriers became the ocean, and we left behind us over 1000 smiling faces. Next stop: Stockholm

Well noted première for Invisible Lands

Livsmedlet’s new piece has finally premièred in Tehdas Teatteri. Invisible Lands, perhaps the most daring and experimental performance i have ever done, has surprisingly enough received great response from both audience and critics. After a long and adventurous artistic process, i am proud and excited to stand behind the outcome!

A desert travel log

Following the unmarked route from body to landscapes and back, Livsmedlet visited the desert and made a new trailer, as part of a residency period in Clipa theater, Tel Aviv. The final piece, Invisible Lands, will be premiéred 24.4.2015 in Tehdas Teatteri, Turku.

Out to space, into the jungle

Q2 – Futurum in Memoriam has finally had its première and was well received by both public and the reviews. This insane project of converting the Botanical Gardens of Turku into a Psychobotanics Space Research Station has proved to be also a great experiment on many theatre conventions. Working in a live scenery better than any man could ever build and getting familiar with underwater visuals is a rare treat!

Time travel, tea and anti-heroes in England

Our Urban Animation team of Livsmedlet has just returned from a successful residence and performing period in Cumbria, England. Creating another unique Dead Ends show, we experimented with storytelling on traffic signs, got acquainted with time travel and the anti-hereos of Kendal’s history, got an all time record of invitations for tea at locals’ houses and were marked as one of the highlights of the Mintfest street arts festival.

Kvarna inhabited with invisible landscapes

Amid cows, river and stimulating nettles in Kvarna, southern Sweden we spent an artist-in-residence period, converting our bodies into landscapes and sceneries that were inhabited by little figures. This marked a beginning of the work on Invisible lands, the new coming performance by Livsmedlet – to be premièred in April 2015. Stay tuned!

The call of the Swamp

After successful performances of Dead Ends in Tromsø, Norway, where we learned new skills such as (North) pole dance and Sami urban drumming, we heard the call from Varissuo (the crow swamp) in Turku – Finland’s most exotic suburb. Join us for an Urban Animation Pop-up Centre 15th & 16th May, don’t miss our Open Street School 19th to 23rd of May and come to our new performances 5th to 7th of June. It’s all for free, but it will stay with you forever.

LIVSMEDLET duo goes Norway

My collaboration with Sandrina Lindgren finally gets a title, LIVSMEDLET (see our blog) – which means groceries or literally substances for life. Based in Turku and Stockholm, our crew of essential food for heart and thought is now invited to participate in Vårscenefest in Tromsø, Norway, where we will stay in a residence 17.4-4.5., creating and performing another unique version of Dead Ends.

News: the News, on stage!

Päivänpolttaja – The Daily Burner has scorched the stage of Tehdas theatre in Turku, as well as the minds of our innocent audience. This long expected performance, combining contemporary puppetry with live news broadcast and original music by Kolmas ilmestys! finally got it’s première on the immortal date 11.12.13.

Visual theatre hurricane hits Havana

Despite having our performance scenery and props lost on the way in airport limbo, we gave unforgettable 3 shows of traFika in the 15th international theatre festival of Havana, Cuba. Except the audience, who demanded and got extra show, the critics didn’t spare their compliments. Read review excerpts in traFika’s page. After the festival we gave a visual theatre workshop to the most talented students of Escuela del Artes Escenicas. With invitations to return for April festivals in our pockets and Cuba in our hearts, we promise: volveremos!

A one year grant received

The grand prize of artist lottery in Finland, or an important recognition for my art work? Any way you look at it the grant, given by Finland’s central art commission for all of the year 2014, will enable me to concentrate on developing visual and puppet theatre art making less production based compromises and taking more daring steps. I am grateful for this opportunity. Taxpayers – i don’t promise to please you, but i will not let you down!

Dead Ends selected for residence!

Dead Ends – the Art of Urban Animation was exclusively selected for the Spoffin street arts festival’s residency from 40 applications of artists from 17 different countries. The residence will be in Amersfoort, Netherlands, during the month of August. Dead Ends will perform 22.-25.8.2013. traFika will accompany the production and perform as well during the festival.

traFika invited to Cuba!

After visiting Nordic and Mediterranean cities and one desert as well, a new direction for traFika, our visual-theatre-road-trip-puppetry-dance-performance: we have received an invitation from the Cuban Ministry of Culture to participate in the 15th International Theatre Festival of Havana, 27.10.-3.11.2013!

Barcelona invaded…

…during April 2013 by traFika, which performed 5 times in the lovely Sala Fénix and was enjoyed by both audience and the critic, who described the show as no less than “a diamond in Barcelona’s cultural program” (read full review in Spanish here). Meanwhile and under the wondering looks of local inhabitants, Dead Ends – the new urban animation promenade performance was born and performed in the streets of Gracia, Barcelona.

From Siberia to Helsinki 12.-16.3.2013

traFika was hosted by the Live Art Training and Research Company in Tampere, for a debut workshop in visual theatre and a performance in a beautiful old wooden theatre house. Both workshop and performance were a success if to judge by the audience’s reactions and also the theatre’s ghost, who left us 10 €. Must be a lot of money for a ghost. In Helsinki traFika participated in the Näyteikkuna -puppetry workshop and was discovered by the Finnish Theatre Information Centre (Tinfo), who decided to include it in it’s exclusive gallery of 10 touring shows.

Premiére for traFika 9.11.2012

traFika, the visual theatre puppetry road trip dance performance made with Sandrina Lindgren, finally had it’s premiere in Tehdas Teatteri. The show was received enthusiastically by both audience and critic. More here.

2012 Art Award:

On the 8.11.2012 i received from the Art Council of South-West Finland the Art Award for performing arts, an annual prize. In the arguments for the award were: “Ishmael Falke on ollut merkittävä suunnannäyttäjä turkulaisen nukketeatterin kentällä. Hän on työskennellyt sekä sooloesiintyjänä että Sixfingers-teatteriryhmässä. Viime vuosien tärkeitä töitä ovat olleet mm. Mikropatia-festivaali sekä Tehdas Teatterin ja Turun kaupunginteatterin yhteistuotanto Iso prinssi ja Pikku prinssi. Vuonna 2011 Ishmael Falkelta julkaistiin kirja Keppi, porkkana ja mustalaatikko, jonka tarkoituksena on antaa eväitä nykynukketeatterin ymmärtämiseen”.