Written and directed in 2010 for The Culture House in Stockholm in co-production with Dramatiska Institutet. A documentary drama about a school shooting, a child custody conflict and a deaf power action. Three monologues performed by two actors and a deaf man telling his own story on stage in sign language. The play got great reviews and was entirely sold out before the opening. The leading Swedish theater magazine wrote: ”An illustration of our time that punches you in the gut”.
A father dresses up as batman and climbs on top of a billboard in the city to scream out his message to the public. As a last desperate attempt of winning back the custody of his daughter, he has joined the radical Fathers-4-Justice movement. We meet him on top of the billboard and later in his apartment where he keeps a room for his daughter, waiting for the day when he hopes she will return.
The sister is trying to make sense of why her brother, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, shot and killed nine people in their high school in Jokela, Finland. And she is convinced that she has found the answer when discovering that her brother was an “ecofascist”. A believer of the idea that the only way to save the environment is to make the human race go extinct. After months of researching and thinking, the sister finally arrives at the conclusion that she is the one who could have stopped him. To show how and prove her provocative theory, she stands up in front of an audience in the little town of Jokela, and explains her ideas using a Powerpoint presentation.
The deaf man is Lars-Åke Wikström, the first Swedish non-hearing person to graduate from college back in the 60s. He tells the story of a life in constant struggle. A struggle to be understood and accepted by the hearing community, and to have the right to use sign language, which until recently was forbidden in Swedish schools. (Deaf students were forced to sit on their hands in the classroom, to prevent them from signing.) Lars-Åke talks about joining the radical Deaf Power movement in the 70s. They arranged politcal actions and protest rallies, and dreamed about overtaking the Swedish island of Gotland and turn it into a separatist deaf community with their own deaf government.
The three characters never meet, but the monologues are presented in a mix. If Regretters was a play about two people struggling to change themselves, En annan kamp is about people who dream of changing the world. On the surface it is a play about political actions. A batman stunt on a billboard, a hearing aid being smashed in public by an axe and a school shooting as a twisted attempt to save the environment. But it is also a play about the loss of relationships. The father who wants to see his daughter, the sister who tries to understand her dead brother and the deaf man who couldn’t communicate with his parents, because they never learned to sign.
The play is partly based on documentary material. The character of the father is constructed from interviews with seven different fathers who all lost custody of their children. The sister is an all fictional character, but the details around the 2007 school shooting in Jokela are all accurate. The story of the deaf man is based on interviews with Lars-Åke Wikström, who in the original production played himself on stage.