Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Liv Heløe (Norway)

Before the Bell

Før det Ringer

Text Extract

I reach out my hand; under my bedside table I can feel
The present
The present I’m going to give Dina
after school
in the wood between the gym and the back of the terraces
I’m going to take her to one side
and when she asks

What is it?

I’m going to say Happy Birthday, Dina!

She’ll be surprised of course
And happy

How did you know it’s my birthday?

I don’t answer
don’t tell her I’ve been in the school social office and looked through
the class list with dates of birth and addresses
just say Here, ’s for you

A present? Thank you -

Open it.

A heart -?


On a chain – To have round my neck -


It’s the nicest thing I’ve ever been given.

Is it?

Yes. Thank you ever so, Janus.

’s a pleasure -

Thank you -

And then
She kisses me
We kiss
we are bound inextricably together
We become boyfriend and girlfriend
become one
From today and for ever
I shall love her and
she shall love me
That’s what’s going to happen today
between the gym and the back of the terraces.


The Secondary school-student Janus, lives with his mum in an apartment block in a suburb somewhere. He is not the coolest guy in the class, but nor is he one of the nerds. Actually, he is quite average. But he has a crush on someone. He has a crush on Dina. A distance crush. Dina started in his class last fall (autumn), and she has the most beautiful neck he has ever seen. Today it’s Dinas birthday, and Janus has bought her a gift. He has planned in detail how he’s going to surprise her with it, behind the gym after school. All this he’s thinking about, as he is standing by the window eating his breakfast this particular morning. Then he looks over to the neighbour block, and in the windows to Leos flat. That bastard Leo. The bully in his class, always picking on someone. On people like Janus. He can see that Leo is smiling. Why is he in such a good mood? Has he got a new dog or something? He can see him stretching out his arm to someone. And then, in the window he can see Dina. In Leos room…
Nothing turns out the way Janus planned this day.
Everything changes, everybody can change. Noone is just the way they are, they are also the one they can be.


Liv Heløe


Opening night 2010, January 22 in Drammen /Norway by Brageteatret
The play which was performed by professional actors is based upon encounters with pupils from Galterud Secondary school/Drammen/NO.

M: 2
F: 3