Drama landscapes

Drama landscapes

A Lucky Man – Contemporary Sámi Dramas (Napkút Kiadó 2017)

Many thanks to Napkút Kiadó for sending me the book!

The Sámi (formerly known as Lapps, which are no longer used because of their negative meaning) live in Northern Europe, in Sámiland, which is shared by four countries: more than half of the Sámi population live in Norway and the rest in Sweden, in Finland and a small community lives in Russia.

In this book we can read four plays and an essay in Hungarian translation, with which we can gain an insight into the multilingual and diverse world of contemporary Sámi theatre. I also really liked that we could read not only the dramas, but also the explanations of the translators and we were also able to learn about the historical implications.

The dramas deal with current problems affecting the Sámi people such as climate change, discrimination or meeting societal expectations. Modern themes are presented in the typical narrative form of a wandering lifestyle in the Monodrama of A Lucky Man and The Whole Caboodle – a play consisting of three separate pieces. The jojka of life* (jojka is a typical Sámi lyrical genre) is a by the Japanese writer Junichiro Okura. It proves the transcultural receptivity of Sámi culture.

My favorite was the Girlfriends*. Through the three main characters, this play shows that the Sámi population itself is not integrated either: Anne lives in Finland; she is a self-conscious political activist who is heated by hostile feelings towards the majority population and Christianity. Sire is deeply religious; she is a representative of the Christian Sami. She can only speak Sámi and cannot read or write. Elise from Sweden embodies the unity not only within the Sámi population but among all the natives of the world.

From Napkút Kiadó, we can currently read Spanish and Czech dramas in the Drama Landscapes series, but the next volume with Estonian dramas is coming soon.

*my translations