The Arctic Theatre Company will stage nine shows of the legendary play, Christmas Fantasy (Joulufantasia), at the Forestry Museum of Lapland this year, with the first night scheduled for December 1.
The show has become an epic over the 32 years since its debut in 1986 in the Pajakylä forest. It has now become an essential Christmas treat for the locals of Rovaniemi as well as the people visiting the world’s Christmas capital.
The storyline of the play takes the audience deep into the enchanted Lappish forest guided by jolly elves and mighty lumberjacks through music and dancing. The beautiful costumes and the enchanting surroundings and decorations never fail to instill the spirit of Christmas in the heart of anyone watching. The exploration into the Christmas Fantasy ends with a serving of the traditional Christmas porridge of Mrs. Santa Claus.
Johanna Virsunen director of the play said, “The story this season has changed a bit. Each year we are making it as good as possible, for we need to develop, be more creative and find new solutions every year to make the Christmas Fantasy better, and better even.”
Marjo Hettula, who plays the role of one of the lumberjacks, said every year the show changes a little, as its authors improve and modify it constantly. “In my opinion, the structure is clearer now as a result of certain additions and withdrawals. But I shouldn’t reveal too much....”
It is important to remember that the play is organised by a non-profit organisation that holds leisure and recreational activities for the locals and the tourists. This means the show requires a collaborative effort of many volunteers.
According to Jukka Hakola, one of the organisers and a co-author of the play, said, “This year there are 58 actors, but altogether there are around 100 persons – volunteers, partners, parents, and grandparents, too – involved every night to make all this happen.” It takes a great effort to manage such a big creative crowd, but it’s the shared effort and bare enthusiasm that keep the project going.
Hettula cheerfully piped in, “From an actor’s point of view, it of course is a challenge to work in such a big group. But I have to say that we have managed to do well so far with one another, even though we differ a lot in terms of age. But it doesn’t matter if you’ve been involved in the show for years or just for this season. We are like a big family who happens to love Christmas.”
“Of course it’s challenging to handle such a big group of members aged between four and 78,” agreed Virsunen. “Some of our actors have been in it for years, while some are new. But all of them are very enthusiastic. They really want to be there in the Christmas Fantasy year after year with the whole family. It’s their way of getting into the Christmas mood.”
How do the organisations feel about this year’s version of the play? Very and very positive: “Of course, I believe in the show’s success. There is a new storyline, more active marketing. And hey, everybody loves Christmas fairy tales,” exclaimed Hettula, while Virsunen said, “I believe the show is so good this year with all our new dynamic changes that the audience will simply love it.”
Photo: Samu Rötkönen
How to see Christmas Fantasy
One of the nine performances of this season is already completely sold out. So don’t miss it out and book your tickets now. You can do it online at netticket.fi or at the Rovaniemi Tourist Information located at Lordi’s Square, Maakuntakatu 29-31. A ticket costs 26 euros for an adult and 12 euros for a child.
There is also bus transportation available for the audience on the 1st, 22nd and 28th of December. The fare is five euros per head. The bus starts from the Santa Claus Hotel at 5.30pm.
For groups comprising more than 10 persons and for private shows call Henna-Riikka Holappa at +358 (0)400 250650.
City of Rovaniemi-Daily Finland Report