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Away with Litter


Every night after the show she clears the litter away from the auditorium and the stage: potato crisp bags, beer cans, unopened condom packages, the red tanga of the male star in the musical and even the first night author asleep in the artificial pond with his plastic duck. She is the cleaning woman of the theatre, an invisible member of its staff. Every night she takes charge of all the stages, plays and songs of the theatre. Every night she performs night theatre of her own as she cleans, even though she is uncomfortably aware of the fact that perhaps she, too, could have sung Les feuilles mortes on the studio stage in a black tube dress. She had the talent but lacked the courage. In spite of the fact that her mind and heart are in the right place and she has an unyieldingly harsh sense of humour. This particular night is decisive. Soon she’ll be a grandmother, and she wants to leave a cleaner, better world for the unborn child. She cleans the theatre, cleaning and sorting out her past at the same time, the carefree years of the youth in the left-wing protest song movement, her country, Finland, where a small human being like her disappears among the fussy, publicity-seeking crowd of selfish people. She knows, she thinks. “People who clean places or help carry dirty dishes into the kitchen in a diner are completely invisible. They must live and move as if they didn’t exist. Such non-existent creatures can hardly have thoughts or ideas, not to mention views or ideologies. But this non-existent, invisible create has a brain. And the brain produces feasible ideas. When this king or queen is born into our family, I’ll make this world right for the newcomer. And dirt and litter are not removed from this world just with fancy talk either!”



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