Thursday, August 25, 2005

Actress: A Rich Theatrical Heritage


1) Marguerite, Camille, (by A. Dumas): Turun Teatteri,, Turku, Finland: "incandescent and splendid" (T.H.); 2) Kirsti Fleming, Elinan Surma (by Gustaf von Numers),Turun Teatteri, Turki, Finland: "Martta Aho's Kirsti Fleming is truly interesting...I have seen Elinan Surma many times, but only Martta Aho's portrayal of Kirsti as a young woman driven by love and jealousy has brought me to re-think the play, and to conclude that Kirsti, in the end, is a much more tragic figure than Elina".; 3) Julia, in Julia, Kotka Teatteri, Kotka, Finland, 1930s; 4) Katusha, in Resurrection (by Tolstoy) , Kotka Teatteri, Kotka, Finland, 1930s; 5) members of Turun Tyvaen Teatteri repertory company, 1942; 6) Medea, in Medea and Jason (adaptation by Martta M. Aho Ensio and Mark MacCaulay), New York City; 7) Sonja, in Locomotive (by Andre Roussin, translated by Maria Aho Ensio, edited by Mark MacCauley): "Maria so delicious a perfomance that only the overwhelming flamboyance of Bruno Schnabel(the mad Russian)can stop her from racing away with the play and turning it into a personal tour de force." (Joan Bordas, THE NEWS, Mexico City, 03/18/79).

Elinor Hughes ( Boston Herald) interviews Martta Aho Ensio, 1948

"Martta Aho began her work in the theater very early, although at first her training was all of a musical nature.

'When I finished my studies I was offered a position in a small city (Kotka) where the government maintained, as it did all over the country, a regular theater. My first part there was as Katusha in Tolstoy"s Resurrection and I was very bad indeed. Always I must play very dramatic roles like Camille, when I would like to act in gay, silly comedies.

We did all kinds of plays - Finnish, English, French and American - modern and classical. Shakespeare? Oh yes, and my first Shakespeare role was Portia, but Shakespeare is not good in Finnish - the translation does not give the depth of his thought and his wonderful poetry - and it was not until I was able to read his plays in English that I understood why he is so great. Someday I would like to act them again - but not until I speak without accent - blank verse with an accent is bad.' "

A Sampling of Ms. Ensio's Reviews:

  • Sysmalainen (operetta by Toivo Palmroth): "Martta Aho Ensio's beautiful, soft and pure soprano voice added greatly to my enjoyment of the production."....."Martta Aho, as the Polish businessman's wife, really warmed up the audience."
  • Martta, in Tuomari Martta (Turja Ilmari), Saima Talo, Fitchburg, PA, USA: "Mrs. Ensio's interpretation of Tuomari Martta was so humane and so intellgent that many in the audience were wiping tears from their eyes."
  • Marta, in Further Than Laughter (by Myron Galloway), Script Theatre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (1988): "Where his play has real strength is in the central character and Miss Ensio plays her delightfully, with just the right touch of reticence and the hint of passion held in check." (Walter O'Hearn, Montreal. Star); "Le piece met surtout en vedette une actrice scandinave, ici depuis peu, Marta Ensio, dont le jeu a soi seul, vaut la soiree." (R. de Repentigny)
  • The Mother, in Blood Wedding (Lorca), MRT (Montreal Repertory Theater) Quebec, Canada: "The Mother was excellently portrayed by Martta Ensio. Her vital charcterization of a passionate and bitter old woman was strikingly real throughout. Her ability to play her role to its fullest without overacting is shown again and again where she delivers intense monologues of tears and passion admirably." (Emily Hick, McGill Daily); "...a most expressive performance vocally and physically." (The Gazette)
  • Anna, in Anna Christie (Eugene O'Neill), Boston Tributary Theatre, Boston, USA: "The new Finnish actress, Martta Aho, a tall attractive brunette, played the role of the wretched Anna, a fate-driven daughter of the sea, who had done time in a squallid St. Paul brothel before she met the man she really loved and who loved her. To the role she brought the necessary hardness, yet a fundamental honesty and sense of decency reborn, in a characterization that was distinguished. Her stage presence, fascinating manner of speaking,and sense of timing was both appropriateand effective. Her third-act scene with the dream-cherishing stoker Matt Burke, became the peak of the play." (Howard Watson, Boston Herald). And from the Finnish Press: " parts her acting was so powerful that surely even those eyes were moist that had not shed a tear in many a year.")
  • Salome, in Salome (Oscar Wilde), Boston Tributary Theatre, Boston, USA: "Martta Aho....deserves praise for the generally good quality of her performance. Her English diction has improved; her acting had force and passion...and the final scene with the severed head of Jokanaan was very powerful. She really brought out Salome's lustful abandon without exaggerating or making it offensive." (Cyrus Durgi, Boston Daily Globe)
  • Solveig, in Peer Gynt (HenrikIbsen), Boston Tributary Theatre, Boston, USA: "Martta Aho, a Finnish actress...newcomer to the "Trib"... difficulties with English are understandable...even so she spoke more clearly than the gernerality of the able...has a good voice for Solveig's song."
  • There is a lovely Solveig in the person of a new Finnish actress, Martta Aho, who brings a professional style, a charming singing voice and much sweetness of manner to her role..." (Elinor Hughes, Boston Herald, 10/31/47)
  • Concert (with Elgar Choir) at Memorial Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: "With flashing eyes and looking particularly striking in an orchid taffeta gown, Martta Ensio, dramatic soprano, delighted listeners with her aria from "Don Carlos" by Verdi, and the lovely melody of Dvorak's "Songs My Mother Taught Me," to earn a warm ovation."
  • Andromache, in Trojan Women (Jefferson Davies, trans.), Boston Tributary Theatre, Boston, USA: Martta a moving and passionate Andromache." Martta Aho..."is especially stirring as the tragic Amdromache." (Elinor Hughes, Boston Herald)

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