Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Tibor Vokoun (Slovakia)

Salto Mortale

Salto Mortale

Text Extract

Scene 3
Three months later. Cellar, rehearsal room. The left section of the stage, which served as the stage before, now with musical instruments. There’s an old couch and a stove in the corner. Peter is asleep on the couch. Dealer enters and starts tuning his instrument. Peter wakes up. Dealer is startled.

Dealer: Shit! You fucking scared me. What are you doing here?
Peter: Nothing. Took a nap.
Dealer: Hold on a minute. You spent the night here. Oh I get it…. with Julka.
Peter: No, I didn’t. Dad came home hammered and we had a row. So I came here.
Dealer: Right thing to do. I’ve told you so many times you should get something on your own and leave him in the fucking caravan by himself.
Peter: I can’t do that. He needs me. But starting next month I’ll move in here for good.
Dealer: Why’s that?
Peter: We got a letter. The parking lot on the edge of town was bought by some development corporation. They want to build a superstore there. We have to vacate the place by the end of the month. We also have to relocate our mobile home – which is what they called our caravan. But relocate where?
Dealer: Assholes! As if there weren’t enough superstores. What can you do though? Do you have some dough at least? (Peter shakes his head.) You have shit! Here’s a fifty.
Peter: Don’t want it.
Dealer: I know… I know. It’s dirty money to you. But you can get stuff for it. Food, an apartment, health, honor, conscience, whatever you want, you can get everything.
Peter: Not everything.
Dealer: OK, so go see a doctor without cash in an envelope! He’ll prescribe you aspirin for a broken leg. Go to a lawyer, go to the city council to get an apartment assigned. How many years ago did you send the application? You’re nothing without money. You’re nobody. You’ll end up homeless. You think someone in college cares that you were top of the class? They don’t give a shit! You didn’t pay. I did. I gave them my dirty money. And they didn’t seem disgusted at all. Can you imagine? They took it just like that. Who do you think they’ll enrol? Wanna bet? You or me? (Notices Peter’s watch.) And why don’t you throw that crap away? Why do you keep wearing it? It only worked for a couple of days anyway.
Peter: ‘Cause it’s from my dad. But you’re not going to understand that.
Dealer: All right, all right… I just want to help you. My offer still stands. I supply the stuff. All you need to do is sell some ten hits every day and you’re out of the woods.
Peter: And I’m gonna end up homeless and you go to jail! And what about my conscience? Doesn’t it bother you that you’re making money out of the poor junkies?
Dealer: You know why I’m doing it. If I don’t sell the shit to them, someone else will. I don’t force them to take drugs. They come to me and beg me. (Casanova and BMW enter. Dealer becomes silent at once.)
Casanova: Guys, I gotta get out of here at seven. I got this chick in the works. She’s quite something. Her legs go all the way up to her neck, man.

(Sitting down, they pick up their instruments. Rehearsal is about to begin.)

BMW: After the rehearsal, I’ll let you steal a glance at my new love. I finally managed to rip some 40 grand off my old man. He bought me a BMW as a graduation gift.
Dealer: (looking at Peter) See, you gotta be loaded.
Casanova: This chick told me last night that my dick’s like a rock.
Dealer: So small?
Casanova: So hard, asshole.
BMW: Dad was a bit of a softie. Apparently he was given the green light to build a supermarket on this piece of land he bought. So I just took advantage.
Dealer: (Looks at Peter who is strumming a tune quietly.) Guys, but money’s not everything.
BMW: He owned up and said that this business is gonna earn him at least half a million. So I guess the 40 grand for the whispering flowers under the hood is worth it.
Casanova: She said it was the best sex she ever had.
Dealer: How old is she? Fourteen?
Casanova: Twenty-eight. Just married.
BMW: 6-speed manual transmission…
Casanova: She said I’m like a German shepherd… just unleashed…
Dealer: 28-years old, recently castrated…
BMW: Guys, it’s an 8-cylinder…
Casanova: I’m a 1-cylinder, but turbo!
BMW: Accelerates from 0 to 100 in 7.2 seconds.
Peter: What do you think about this? (Strums a new tune.)
BMW: I’ll play you a tune, dude, a sonata in B major. When I start the car, Tchaikovsky can go fuck himself.
Casanova: I once had a chick who fucked in triple time. What a sonata that was, man.
Dealer: Yeah, but weren’t you off beat? I mean, it happens to you a lot when we play.
BMW: D’you know how hard it is to hold back 240 horsepower?
Casanova: I gotta hold back when I see nipples underneath a shirt.
Dealer: (to Peter) I gotta hold back when I see this fucking upstart driving a BMW. It’s because of him you have to relocate your caravan. You think this is clean money?! Think!
Peter: (Jumps up, annoyed.) Are we gonna rehearse now, or do you want to fuck chicks in BMWs? I could’ve gone to work a shift at Tesco’s.
Dealer: (derisively) Yeah, and you could’ve made at least 15 Euros – clean money! (The boys laugh. Peter gets up to leave.)
Peter: You make me fucking sick! (Julka enters.)
Casanova: Ciao, my love! Peter just asked me to show you sunrise over the lake by my cabin in the woods.
Julka: If Peter goes too, I’ll be happy to see it.
BMW: Oh well but you’d have to go in his old creaking caravan. But on my shiny leather you will be in fine feather. Got a new BMW, you know, leather seats, top of the line.
Julka: All right, I’d like to be in fine feather on your leather first and then see the sunrise. (They all gape in surprise.) But you would have to lend Peter the BMW and me the keys to your cabin. (Walks up to Peter.)
Casanova: (to BMW) So we’re gonna beat the meat in the cellar. (Dealer laughs at them.)
Julka: What can you offer, Peter? My folks are not home tomorrow.
Peter: Well… we could go to the movies.
Casanova: What a dumb ass!
Julka: Movies it is. What time?
Peter: Six on our bench. OK, so are we playing or not? (Peter starts. This should be a slow song in which each of the boys improvises the lyrics, in a witty way, to profess their love to Julka. Ultimately, the song becomes a duet sung by Peter and Julka.)

Scene 4
The bench.
Julka enters, carrying a suitcase, a bag or backpack. She walks to the bench. A brief sketch about waiting. She is visibly nervous and exhausted. After a while, she lies down on the bench and falls asleep. Peter enters. He looks at Julka, not knowing what to do. The boys are still sitting in the rehearsal room on the left, in dimmed light. Peter can hear their advice.
Casanova: Don’t stand around like a moron! Jump at her.
BMW: What are you, Prince Charming knocked out of his wits when he saw Sleeping Beauty?
Dealer: She’s fast asleep as if she’s just had a hit from my goodies. I swear to God I didn’t sell her anything. Not a gram. That’d be some serious fun, man.
(Peter moves towards Julka, as if he could not bear the comments any longer.)
BMW: Wait Prince Charming! You’re not gonna get to her that easy! Can’t you see the rosebushes the kingdom is overgrown with? You have to cut your way through first.
Casanova: Absolutely! Get out your huge… sword and go straight after the treasure… under her skirt. (Peter is still standing over Julka, smiling about his friends’ advice.)
Dealer: (Julka moves, but does not wake up.) Look, it seems she took some shit that was seriously cut and weak. I didn’t sell her that shit. I only sell good stuff.
BMW: Hold on, Sleeping Beauty was a junkie?
Dealer: I don’t know. Maybe. But if she was, the bad fairy must have been a dealer.
BMW: See how they lie to the poor children? I was told that she was put under a spell and that the prince, in our case our dumbass, had to kiss her to wake her up.
Casanova: Kiss her where?
Dealer: Surely not where you’d like to kiss her.
Casanova: I kissed a girl once and she only woke up during orgasm.
Peter: Your orgasm?
(Peter, as if trying to drive away these distracting thoughts, moves resolutely towards Julka. He finds a leaf of grass and tickles Julka’s face. Julka jolts and wakes up.)
Casanova: Was that supposed to be an orgasm?
Peter: Shut up! (Julka looks at him in disbelief.) I’m sorry. That… it… I wasn’t talking to you. I mean, I was just… thinking about something and… I just… I wanted to awaken Sleeping Beauty… I mean, well, you were sleeping here like… like a… sleeping beauty.
Julka: And you woke me up with a kiss?
Peter: Well… no… with grass.
Dealer: I didn’t sell him any grass either.
Julka: So I guess we’re going to have to do it again. (Julka lies back down on the bench. Peter is bemused. He is not used to this kind of display of affection.)
Casanova: Wow! She’s kinda horny. But he doesn’t have the guts!
Dealer: Peter, I bet you’ve never kissed her.
Peter: So what?

(Julka lifts her head, perplexed. Then she closes her eyes again.)

Julka: I’m waiting! (Peter comes closer and gives her a long kiss.)
Casanova: Yeah… yeah… it looks like they got glued together now.
Peter: (Finishes the kiss. Wipes his mouth and says dryly.) Why do I have to save the entire kingdom?
Dealer: OK, wanna swap? I’ll be the saviour now.
Peter: You have a smelly breath!
Julka: Excuse me?
Peter: No… I… I just wanted to say that I can smell… the gum… you’re chewing. (He grabs Julka and gives her another long kiss.)
Julka: I wish I’d never even woken up.
Peter: What are you saying? What happened? (Notices the suitcase.)
Julka: I left home. Got the letter from the university. I was rejected. Dad started yelling that it’s because I hang out with you and the guys. So I just left.
Dealer: You don’t pay, you don’t study!
BMW: My college application cost my penny-pinching dad three grand.
Peter: Julka, I guess you should stop seeing me. I’m not good for you.
Julka: You talk like my father now.
Peter: He’s probably right. You know, I don’t see my future in very bright colors. You should go home. They’ll be worried.
Julka: Who’ll be worried? Dad won’t notice that I left until a month from now when he comes back home from England for three days. And mom, well, she’s happy to show off with this guy who’s her boss at the company… only to play the happy wife again – for three days. I don’t want to go back there, Peter. I want to be with you. I like you.
Peter: I’m sorry, but you never told me this. (Julka is crying.) I like you too.
Casanova: Tell her she can sleep over in our cellar. (Starts showing off, testing the couch.)
Peter: But not with you.
Casanova: You know my rule is, that if you want to take something intelligent to bed, you should grab a book.
Peter: Maybe you could sleep over in the rehearsal room.
Julka: But I’m afraid of the landlord. He’s kind of weird.
Peter: Don’t worry. Come on!


The play is about a young man named Peter and his friends, who have all just finished high school. Peter does not have a good relationship with his father, a former circus artist, and his mother left them a long time ago. Peter is a sensible young man and does not let the environment around him mess with his head, despite the friends he has. One of his friends, a drug dealer, finds dealing to be the easiest way to earn money. Other friends are children of rich and important people and money opens the way to university for them. The play examines the power of friendship, the relationships between young people and their parents, and the uncertainty of the future. The (un)happy ending shows, how one bad decision can lead to a deadly consequence. It is a story about love and despair, the strongest emotions that have to be dealt with by such young people.



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