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Kristian Smeds, born in 1970, is a Finnish stage director and playwright who has worked in Finland, Estonia, Belgium and Lithuania. When Smeds speaks, people listen. One of Finland’s top writers and directors, from the very beginning of his career he has shown that he has much to say and the ability to say it. He is just as much at home portraying the inner worlds of his characters as in highlighting the remotest corners of society. His plays are wild, energetic, and filled with many distinctive voices. They can be interpreted in many different ways, and can take full advantage of a wide variety of theatrical techniques. His language is rich and colourful, but at the same time natural. In Smeds’ world, the personal and the political are indistinguishable, and his work is characterized by a deep concern for human beings. The intimate chamber plays Yhä pimenevä talo (Darkening House, 1995) and Jääkuvia (Frozen Images, 1996) examine families, particularly conflicts between generations. Jumala on kauneus (God is Beauty, 2000) based on the novel by Paavo Rintala, is a powerful portrait of an artist, whereas Huutavan ääni korvessa (A Cry in the Woods, 2001) takes a breakneck look at fanaticism and marginalization in Finland. As his farewell production for the Kajaani Municipal Theatre, Smeds directed a very contemporary and original adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. Recently he has been active on the international scene. His dramatization of Arto Paasilinna’s novel, Jäniksen vuosi (The Year of the Hare), for the Von Krahl Theatre in Estonia (2005) was widely praised. With Lithuanian colleagues, he developed a female monologue, Sad Songs from the Heart of Europe, based on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. In the autumn of 2007, he dramatized and directed an explosive production of Väinö Linna’s The Unknown Soldier at the Finnish National Theatre. This re-interpretation of a cherished Finnish novel was a most controversial theatrical event in Finland, provoking wide acclaim as well as firce debate. In 2007, Smeds established his own theatre group, the Smeds Ensemble, which has partners around Europe. Smeds Ensemble’s first production, Mental Finland, premiered at the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) in Brussels in February 2009. During the same year, the production toured in Finland, Lithuania, France and Austria. Smeds’ most recent production at the Finnish National Theatre is an adaptation of Paul Auster’s novel Mr. Vertigo.