Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Heikki Itänen (Finland)

Too Old and Too Young

Liian vanha ja liian nuori

Text Extract

Mum and dad are watching TV on a Friday evening. Dad is holding a beer and mum a glass of wine. Their son, a 14-year-old boy, carries a computer and some leads into the front hallway. The parents do not take any notice. The boy goes into his room and comes out carrying a computer screen and a plastic bag. He heads towards the door.
Miko: Okay, I?m gonna go and play then.
Mum: Hang on a minute! Where are you going?
Miko: To play games online with my mates. I told you already.
Mum: Yeah but…
Miko: But what?
Mum: What?s THAT got to do with it? (Pointing the computer.)
Miko: Oh this…It?s because it has better graphics than a laptop.
Dad: Probably, but mum meant that we thought…that it?s…
Miko: Is what?
Dad: That it was going to be…playing like…
Miko: That?s what it is. This is what we use to play.
Mum: Yeah but…we thought it was going to be something…more sport-like playing.
Miko: Right. The problem here lies with the computer.
(Places the computer screen on the floor next to the rest of his things and wipes his hands on his clothes, like it is something filthy.)
Yuc! It?s the source of all of evil. Sorry I forgot that for a moment.
Dad: No point joking like that! Mum and I are definitely of the opinion that you sit far too much in front of that contraption. Far too much! You should be with your friends sometimes.
Mum: Exactly!
Miko: That?s exactly what I?m planning. There are at least six of us there. Maybe more. Three players and the rest are assembling an old computer. Everyone is bringing some parts if they?ve got any. Think I may have a suitable graphics card…
(Shaking the plastic bag he is carrying.) …hopefully. If we get the machine working then there are four players.
Mum: But it?s not the same as being with your friends. Miko: What do you mean it?s notMum: „Cos you?ve got those…machines.
Miko: I don?t think it matters how many friends I?ve got there. If there were 50 of us, it would still be the same to you because we?ve got those horrible computers there.
(Pointing overdramatically to the computer equipment on the floor with disgust kicks them a bit. Places the plastic bag on the floor, grimacing, like it was filthy.)
Dad: You are just making fun of the whole thing. Like this is some kind of unjust parental meddling with an ordinary everyday thing.
Miko: Well at least for once I succeeded in something! That?s exactly what I mean! (Celebrating.)
Mum: Let it be now Miko. I think you are treading on thin ice here.
Miko: (Calms down and realizes there’s no reason to be celebrating.) Sorry.
Dad: Tell me, how is it that you are planning to play
Miko: All of us are playing the same game at the same time. Dad: How?s that possible?
Miko: We are all in the same game through the net. It?s no space science. We can be on the same side, or against each other or the computer, or… there are loads of choices.
Dad: Well what?s the game that you are playing like? What do you do?
Miko: Well of course it?s about tactics, and building and at times we fight and…
(Dad interrupts.)
Dad: Some kind of war game then?
Miko: To an extent yes. Sometimes we fight. Then we recover our bases. Improve our weapons. It?s got the ancient basic theme of all games. Good versus evil.
Mum: Always just killing and killing.
Miko: All games are like that really. It?s about beating the other side. Take, for example playing chess, dad?s favourite. In chess you are trying to kill, or should I say capture, as many soldiers from the other side as possible. And the horses are also beaten into mince meat in passing. You can?t win in games without cruelly defeating the opponent. In a way, the game we play is almost like virtual chess.


CHARACTERS: Mum, Dad and a 14-year-old boy called Miko

Evening at an ordinary modern home. Miko, the 14-year boy is carrying computer equipment and is about to set off for an evening at his friend’s house, but he gets stopped by his parents in the corridor.

They want to know where he is going and what he is going to be doing. Miko explains he is going to be playing videogames with his friends, eat pizza and hang out, but the parents do not approve. The situation escalates. A clash of generations in our modern culture follows.

The young person and parents don’t understand each other. An exchange of ideas takes place about playing, computers, video games, pizza and crisps, upbringing, exercise, socialising, diets, the rat race of modern day, basic rules and responsibilities, decision-making and the many issues of what one should be able to do and decide at a certain age. The discussion highlights the difficult in-between-age of the boy and the importance of trust and being able to discuss things properly.

The parents were also young once, Miko brings up stories of their youth, which puts things into perspective for the parents. Families have always struggled with a generation gap. Miko is allowed to leave the house in the end. His dad even gives him money for the pizza and crisps. Miko’s phone rings, his friend’s brother has come to pick him up. He leaves the house with his computer equipment.



Oulu City Theatre, Oulu /FI, February 2013

M: 2
F: 1