In the musical ”Vänd om min längtan” we follow Maria’s life from childhood to old age. The story begins when Maria is old and suffering from dementia, residing in a nursing home. One day, she is visited by a woman named Lidia Paulson, who claims to be Maria’s daughter. Throughout her life, Lidia has yearned for her mother, seeking answers as to why she was abandoned and whether the song that has always resonated within her once belonged to her mother. But Maria has no answers; her memories are shrouded in mist, a field, and an open wound. Together, we embark on a journey through time and space, through memories and longing.
Throughout the performance, we follow two timelines and two different worlds: the real world unfolding in the present and Maria’s inner world, where her memories come to life.
In Act 1, Maria’s childhood unfolds in Finland. It is a life marked by poverty and hardship, yet there is warmth in her family, including her father, mother, and older brother. Maria’s parents are farmers, deeply connected to animals and nature. Maria’s mother, Margareta, possesses a unique gift – she can soothe the longing of horses. Even horses can experience homesickness when they move to a new farm, and to calm them and help them adjust, they call upon Margareta.
Life continues peacefully until their security is shattered. Sanfrid, Maria’s father, suffers an accident and loses his hands in a tug-of-war with a horse. His injuries are so severe that he passes away. For Margareta, there are few options but to remarry. It becomes a new reality for Maria and Harald when they move in with their stepfather, August, and his foreboding mother, Hilda.
The new home is cold and demanding, especially for Harald, Maria’s brother, who begins to yearn for a better life elsewhere. Harald decides to emigrate to Canada, earn money, and send Maria a ticket so she can escape the life of potato water, salted fish, and their violent stepfather. Maria is torn between her longing for Harald and her love for her new half-brother but ultimately decides to embark on the journey.
In Act 2, we follow Maria’s journey across the Atlantic to Canada. There, she makes new friends and reunites with Harald, whose life has not improved in the new country. Work in Canada is tough, but there’s a glimmer of freedom – at least for Maria. One evening, she meets Eddie. He is from the Åland Islands and has emigrated just like her. Eddie exudes a magnetic charm, and Maria’s longing takes off like a wild horse.
They quickly marry and have a daughter, Lidia. However, passion soon gives way to jealousy, and Eddie’s suspicious and violent side takes over. To survive, Maria and Lidia flee from Eddie. Maria meets a new man, Rikard from Vörå, who offers her security and rekindles her longing for Finland. But to obtain a divorce, Eddie threatens to take custody of Lidia. With the law on his side, Maria is forced to leave her daughter in Canada and return home with Rikard.
In the end, only memories remain of a life where longing has twisted and tangled its way through the years and the two worlds are weaved together. The elderly Maria finds solace in her longing for Lidia, and Lidia comes to understand that the longing has been mutual all along.