Martta Bröyer’s painful artistic journey as a play
The play about the life of dance artist Martta Bröyer premieres at Villa Hakasalmi on 10 May 2023. It is about the extraordinary life of the marginalised woman, who had to deal with her complex body, her Christian foster mother and the drastic change in body culture in the 1930s. Tickets for the performance are now on sale.
The new play My name is BRÖYER is about a woman who calls herself ugly and whose dancing is considered vulgar. Martta Bröyer (1897–1979), played by Aija Pahkala, makes her way to dance schools in the Weimar Republic and perseveres in her efforts to reform dance art in 1920s and 1930s Finland. Despite the public ridicule, Bröyer holds on to the style she has created – bröyerism – and her own place in the art canon.
The artistic interpretation of Bröyer’s life is directed by Hanna Ojala. She has also co-written the play My name is BRÖYER with Aija Pahkala. Ojala’s works are characterised by the stories of extraordinary women and the friction between the individual and the community.
“Martta Bröyer wanted to go down in history, and to ensure that, she sold her museum home to the city. In our performance, we explore the other reasons why Martta needs to be remembered. Through Martta’s story, we also recall the herstory of a particular time, body and culture – in the way it resonates with us today. Museums are places of remembrance. The room theatre staged by scenographer Reija Laine in the museum now functions as such,” says Ojala.
On one level of time, My name is BRÖYER is about the slow attachment of a girl abandoned by her mother to her foster mother, for whom the girl’s dance is a deep, moral dilemma. On another level of time, the play explores the impact of the new, “free” and holistic body culture emerging in Germany on the life of a young woman who is both thirsty for love and afraid of it.
In addition to director Hanna Ojala, the production work group includes set designer Reija Laine, sound designer Juuso Voltti, choreographer Laila Nousiainen as well as actors Reetta Kankare, Sannamari Patjas and Aija Pahkala.
The production has been carried out in cooperation with the City Museum. The content of the play has been created in dialogue with Museum researchers Anne Rysti, Jere Jäppinen and Mikko Lindqvist on the basis of their source material and Bröyer’s extensive archives. Martta Bröyer was born in the Burgher’s House, the oldest wooden residential building in central Helsinki, which she saved for future generations as the last private owner of the property. This is described in the book Ruiskumestarin talo (‘The Burgher’s House’), published by the City Museum in 2021.
My name is BRÖYER
Villa Hakasalmi (Mannerheimintie 31 B 00100 Helsinki)
10–20 May 2023
Tickets €25/15 from Eventilla online store and Villa Hakasalmi’s museum shop.
Duration approx. 80–90 min, no interval. Recommended for those who are 16 years old and older.
The play is in Finnish
Wed 10 May at 19:00 (premiere)
Thu 11 May at 19:00
Wed 17 May at 19:00
Thu 18 May at 19:00
Fri 19 May at 19:00
Sat 20 May at 19:00
The work group has received support from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Svenska kulturfonden and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.
Photo: Jussi Virkki