SCENA's Regional Premiere of Purge, 

the International Hit Play by Award-winning Finnish Author Sofi Oksanen,

is Helen Hayes Awards© Recommended.

Washington, DC - June 20, 2011 — The Directors of SCENA Theatre are excited to announce that their regional premiere of Purge by Sofi Oksanen is Helen Hayes Awards© Recommended. This is SCENA's second production in a row that has earned this sought-after distinction, as our authentic Irish production of The Weir also earned this organization's Recommendation.

Playwright Sofi Oksanen is an award-winning author, acclaimed playwright, and European phenomenon. She adapted her renowned play Puhdistus (“Purge”) into a novel, which became a best-seller and won her the Finlandia Prize (2008), Runeberg Prize (2009), and Nordic Council Literature Prize (2010), all in her early 30s. The play Purge debuts regionally with Artistic Director Robert McNamara leading a stellar cast of notable actors from both Washington and Europe. 

Purge had its landmark American debut at the La MaMa Theatre in the East Village of New York City on February 10, 2011. Now, McNamara is eager to introduce his own unique interpretation of Purgeto the DC region by featuring several talented actors of Russian descent, with advanced stage training in Russia and Poland. As always, SCENA’s Mission is to bring the very best international theatre to DC and stimulate cultural exchange between local and global artists. Furthermore, SCENA will also serve as an envoy of Finnish and Estonian culture and history to the Washington metropolitan region.

McNamara added that he is thrilled to introduce this international gem, replete with universal themes, to our region. “Purge is a story, quite simply, of love and betrayal....a fable of war, passion, and finally a woman's journey to redemption in a seemingly hopeless world.” He added that Purge embodies a traditional dramatic convention — that of catharsis, or purging of the viewer’s emotions. “It is a play that is not for the feint-of-heart, but for those who feel that the theatre is a extraordinary place to experience strong emotions." 

Purge is the powerful story of an Estonian woman’s lifelong struggle through political exploitation, family betrayal, and sexual trafficking. We follow the brave yet flawed Aliide who wrestles with abuse, destruction, forgiveness – and finally redemption. Set in Western Estonia in 1992, it is a story of two generations of women challenged by a male-dominated political structure a year after the Soviet Union’s collapse. The play includes flashbacks to the early 1950s when the protagonist was a young woman in the confines of Soviet-occupied Estonia. The crux of the story examines the riveting impact of domination, power, history, and culture on one’s identity and psyche.

Official Run:  June 9 – July 3, 2011 (Thurs. – Sat. 8pm; Sun. 3pm)


1365 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Press: Email:

Phone: 412.721.9864 or

Click: on Press link (at left) for Photos

Price: $16 - $40 

Tickets: Click on Tickets link at left or

Reserve by Phone 703-683-2824.

Parking: Valet Parking is available on the 1300 block of H Street NE (on the north side, across the street from H St. Playhouse). If driving, side-street parking is suggested (Maryland Ave, 10th–12th Streets, etc.). Also, the X2 Metrobus runs down H Street. Visit for schedules.

Events: “European Union” is a Meet & Greet with the cast / director after the show onSaturday June 25. Patrons will enjoy discussing the play and the social / political events surrounding the story. Import beer, fine wine & hors d'oeuvres are included with ticket.

Thirsty Thursdays” introduce great international works to a new generation. Patrons 30 & under get a discounted $18 ticket plus a free drink at any Thursday show.

Deals: Nonprofit Nights” – $20 tickets for all staff at nonprofits & associations (except Thur. June 9 & Sat. June 25). Please present business cards for discount. 

Student Specials” – $16 tickets for all Students (except Thur. June 9 & Sat. June 25). Please show student IDs for discount. 

Sofi Oksanen (Playwright) was born in Jyväskylä, Finland in 1977. Her first novel, Stalinin Lehmät (“Stalin’s Cows”, 2003), catapulted her into the elite of young writers. This original, political debut created heated public debate and earned her a nomination for The Runeberg Award, one of Finland’s most prestigious literary prizes. Her second novel Baby Jane (2005) was also successful. Oksanen’s first play Puhdistus was staged at the Finnish National Theater in 2007 to rave reviews. Out of that play grew her third novel Puhdistus (“Purge”, 2008), which became a No. 1 bestseller in Finland. Puhdistus won numerous prizes including Finland’s premier literary award, The Finlandia Award, and the Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2010. Oksanen is the youngest author ever to win either prize. Puhdistus also won the 2010 FNAC prize in France, beating out 300 French works, and marking the first time this award has gone to a foreign author. To date, Puhdistus has been translated into 38 languages.

Featured Actors include notable Washington actors who have appeared in numerous SCENA productions. Kerry Waters returns on the heels of her acclaimed performance as Valerie in The Weir. Kerry’s husband, Eric Lucas also returns after an impressive performance as Brendan in The Weir. Additional cast members include veteran DC actors Colleen Delany* (Mother Courage and Her Children), Irina Koval (Ivona, Princess of Burgundia), Lee Ordeman* (The War of The Worlds), Armand Sindoni, and Stas Wronka*.

Design Team includes Michael C. Stepowany (Set), Marianne Meadows+ (Lighting), Alisa Mandel (Costumes), Erik Trester (Sound / Images), Renata Loman (Asst. Director), Michelle Elwyn (Props), Stacey Shade* (Stage Manager) and Seth Finkle (Production Manager).

SCENA Theatre brings the best international theatre to Washington, DC and to stimulates cultural exchange between theatre artists, locally and worldwide. Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert McNamara and Managing Director Amy Schmidt, SCENA produces an annual season of plays, seasonally staged readings, as well as a Workshop Series aimed at developing new works from around the globe. To learn more about our mission or past stage productions, please call 703.684.7990 or visit