Mark Medoff’s 1979 play Children of a Lesser God is a modern classic charting the crosscurrents faced by a deaf woman and a hearing man as they fall in love. The multi-award-winning play won further acclaim for a 1986 film adaptation of the same title. Marlee Matlin, as Sarah, won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her stunning performance in the film. Most recently, the play was performed on Broadway at the Studio 54 Theatre in April 2018.
Children of a Lesser God raises questions of identity, self-determination, and finding one’s own voice and juxtaposes them with assimilation, passion, and reaching out. Sparks fly when Sarah, totally deaf from birth, and James, a speech therapist, take measure of each other, and of the forces surrounding them.
Finnish Premiere in Espoo
Children of a Lesser God (Sanaton rakkaus in Finnish) will receive its Finnish premiere in the autumn of 2019 with the luminous winner of Toronto Theatre Critics Award 2017, Dawn Jani Birley, playing Sarah. Birley has worked widely in her native Canada and has recently settled in the Nordic region.
Opposite Birley’s Sarah, the ever-popular stage and film actor Santeri Kinnunen appears as James. This marks Kinnunen’s first ever appearance at Espoo City Theatre. Children of a Lesser God is directed by Johanna Freundlich and it premieres at Espoo City Theatre’s Revontuli Hall on September 19, 2019.
The play is performed in Finnish and in Finnish Sign Language, with surtitles in Finnish on stage and in English via mobile app.
Cast Milka Ahlroth, Dawn Jani Birley, Aino Hakala, Aleksi Holkko, Santeri Kinnunen, Meri Nenonen and Pertti Sveholm.
Director Johanna Freundlich, set designer Janne Siltavuori, lighting designer Tarja Ervasti, sound designer Tommi Koskinen, costume designer Noora Salmi, make-up artist Kaarina Kokkonen, sign language coach Marianne Aro.
Johanna Freundlich’s previous work includes My Cat Yugoslavia, based on the highly-acclaimed novel by Pajtim Statovci, at the Finnish National Theatre; an award-winning production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America; and Ryhmäteatteri’s play Nätti tyttö, vähän pehmee. At Espoo City Theatre, Freundlich directed the musical Kojoottikuu in 2014.