Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

István Tasnádi (Hungary)


Text Extract

Young people, around 16-17 years old, are waiting in an apartment belonging to one of them. The apartment has been decorated for a birthday celebration. One of them receives a text message and comments on it excitedly:

MARCI: It’s started!

LUCA: What?

KARESZ: You’ll see!

The others launch into excited preparations.

TIMI: Let’s light the candles!

MARCI: Not yet! They’ll be driving him around a little first! (His cell phone rings, he pulls it out, looks at it.) Take a look at this! A photo. Süni sent it.

The others gather around Marci, look at the photo, depicting three masked figures pulling a hood over a young boy’s head.

Excitement, cheerful laughter.

LUCA: What are they doing with him?

KARESZ: Nothing. Just a practical joke.

LUCA: You said it was a birthday party.

KARESZ: Surprise party, that’s what I said.

MARCI (to Luca): They pulled a bag over his head and hustled him into a car. They’re driving him around a little and blasting The Prodigy.

They laugh.

LUCA: But why?

KARESZ: Why? Because! To make a point.

MARCI: He got cocky with us. He said there was no way we could surprise him.

Timi, who has been standing at the window, excitedly reports:

TIMI: They’re here! They just pulled up in front of the house!

They flock to the window.

KARESZ (laughing): This is good shit.

MARCI: I’ll go meet them in case some tenant comes out.

TIMI: Meantime we’ll light the candles.

MARCI: Okay!

Marci goes out. Karesz and Timi light candles.

KARESZ: You have a lighter, don’t you? C’mon, help us out here. (Luca joins the candle-lighting.) Turn off the lights.

Timi goes to the door, turns off the lights, peers into the foyer.

LUCA: Which birthday?

KARESZ: Seventeen.

TIMI: Shut up, they’re coming! Total silence!

Timi runs back. The group waits in silence.

Marci steps in the door, barely managing to suppress his laughter.

Behind him are three guys: one has his hands bound, his head covered with a hood, and is being shoved in front of the others. He is pushed to the middle of the room, and surrounded.

One of them rips the hood off his head.

The boy jerks his hands to his face as if expecting a blow. Somebody lets out a laugh.

The assembled crowd, except Luca, begins singing:

MARCI AND HIS COHORTS: " Happy birthday to you…" etc.

The boy looks around, blinking, his face streaked with tears, his entire body trembling.

The singing grinds to a halt.

The boy still hasn’t entirely grasped where he is and that nothing’s wrong. There is a wet spot on his pants and this wet spot is getting bigger.

Timi goes to him, embraces him, and quietly comforts him.

Marci brings a bucket to clean up the mess. The others stand around, embarrassed and clueless.

Finally somebody comes to their senses and turns on the CD player. The party may begin.

Translation Eugene Brogyányi




FACE ME Time of Transition
P11+ premiere Pilsen / CZ, June 18, 2012

M: 7