Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Plays Database

NOW 55 31 13 me - The boundary path of realities. One day in the life of adolescents

The script contains the entire text of the production. The actors for the most part play themselves, sometimes becoming fictitious characters.
NOW 55 31 13 me is not a theatre play in the true sense of the word, but is literally a theatre script. This is because it was created during the rehearsal process and is based on the testimonies of particular people. It is composed of both fictitious and documentary parts. The authors of the texts used in the script are writers Bára Gregorová and Blanka Josephová-Lu?áková, with use also being made of conversations and discussions between the actors in the production. Last but not least, it is important to mention that the play draws on the contributions of teenagers studying at a Pilsen grammar school. The fictitious part of NOW 55 31 13 me takes place over the course of a single day. The students get up in the morning and drag themselves into the classroom, going on to spend the afternoon on the internet. Their day is composed of images of mundanity and stereotype, but one thing about it is out of the ordinary. One of their fellow students has committed suicide by jumping off a roof. What form and likeness is taken by this magical NOW, in which children become adults?
Most of Petra Tejnorová’s auteur-style productions are created with no text to begin with, by means of improvisation, and it is thus relatively difficult to provide precise information ”about the author”. The authors of the script are the actual actors in NOW 55 31 13 Me, plus second-year students at the František K?ižík grammar school in Pilsen, playwright Blanka Josephová-Lu?áková and writer Bára Gregorová. The script contains the entire text of the production. The actors for the most part play themselves, sometimes becoming fictitious characters. This script is fulfilled only on stage, when acted in front of an audience, since it is closely interconnected with the action on stage.

Somebody’s move, Nobody’s move

Ray is coming back to school. The teacher said so.
Four children in the schoolyard- Willy, Menk, Iris and Hanna- are awaiting his arrival, nervous and worked up. He’ll be in a wheelchair. Who is to blame?
In a reconstruction the four children go back in time. They take turns playing the absent Ray. Ray is stubborn, he looks for caterpillars in the bushes, stands up for fall guys and dares to oppose Menk (the king of the schoolyard). Even though he doesn’t belong to any group, everybody respects him. Iris is Menk’s right hand, she is stirring up trouble and waiting for something sensational to happen. Her friend Hanna doesn’t respond to Willy’s clumsy overtures, she is more occupied with the ever elusive Ray.
In a series of short scenes with dialogues, stories, songs and seemingly innocent schoolyard games like : skipping and “Ferryman, can you take us across?” the relationships slowly become clear, who stands up for others, who bullies, who has butterflies in their stomachs and who is a bystander?
The boys fight for their rank in the hierarchy, they score points off each other or look for protection. The girls join in with the boys, giggling and whispering. They are sly and eventually come up with the most dangerous plans. The children’s social backgrounds also play a role. The father of one of them is a doctor, another child has an alcoholic mother and one has a father at sea.
Meanwhile some events from post war history make an appearance. Willy’s uncle betrayed Jews during the war and is despised by the villagers. The dikes in Zeeland burst and everybody has to hand in toys for the victims. The sixties present themselves with their music and the “American kiss”. Jet planes fly across the schoolyard to end the Moluccan train hijack. Against the background of these events, tension rises among the children in the schoolyard. Betrayal between friends, the struggle for power, badgering, being ignored, unrequited love and pent up frustrations finally have a fatal outcome.
On Ray’s initiative the children plaster the van that belongs to Willy’s collaborator uncle. Consequently the teacher puts pressure on the class by cancelling the school trip as long as the perpetrators refuse to give themselves up. Ray confesses and betrays his fellow perpetrators. They are furious and come up with a punishment: Ray must climb the roof along the rain pipe. When that turns out a little too easy, somebody suggests a more severe punishment: he must jump across the gap between the two school buildings. “Across the gap” the children chant, “Ray must pay”. Little can go wrong, as Willy is supposed to hold the rope that secures Ray. And Willy is Ray’s friend. But Willy is also in love….
In the heat of the game, during the compelling developments in the schoolyard hours fly. Or maybe years. And sometimes time seems to stand still.

In this schoolyard there is no time
In this schoolyard there is all the time in the world
Outside the gate the time moves forward, tick-tock
Hour after hour
Day after day
Month after month
But here
Time plays with us

School Ties

Come with us on a journey into the deep, dark, dusty corridors of your memory. Inhale the stale stench of floor polish, click open your Barbie lunchbox, tuck in that shirt and straighten your tie! You’re back at School.
School Ties begins with the first day back after the holidays: it is a site-specific work designed to be performed in a school, from the playground and hall, to classrooms and dusty storerooms. The audience gathers in the playground amidst the pupils, joining with their games, their arguments and their celebrations. We hear the bell calling us to Assembly where we wait nervously to meet the three-headed Headmaster.
After the usual preaching, beseeching and admonishments from this giant of a man we are sent on our way to explore the school grounds and the characters which inhabit them. In class–sized tour groups we meet the teachers: the deaf and drunken Mr Humpledink, who fails to contain us with the classics of English literature; the delightfully dippy Miss Hunniford who barely bothers to attend; and the passionate Mrs Harris whose teaching enthrals and inspires.
In the classrooms, corridors and storerooms we find the students: from Geeks and Barbie dolls to Rude Boys and Gossips, you’ll meet them all and perhaps recognize something of yourself. They let us in to the real life of the school and remind us just who really is in charge. Have you done your homework? Did you bring your lunch money? Whose side are you on? And just how cool are you?
In every school there are students entrusted with higher responsibility; the Prefects. They guide, educate, inspire confidence and occasionally mislead us. As the tour comes to an end they bring us together to witness the bizarre life of the playground: a place where pack mentality rules and strength, scent and allegiance are king.
The school year has been squeezed into a single day. There is a hint of celebration in the air, a whiff of freedom heightened by expectation and tempered by memory. The laughter, the tears, the lessons learnt and the experiences shared.
The bell rings.


(Written for DUS – the Norwegian version of the British “Connect” – program)

“Make&Break” is about six young people who are chosen to take part in “Make&Break”, a reality show in which the participants compete for several hundred thousand kroner. Each of the six has been diagnosed with cancer and only has a relatively short time left to live. What is important in life? Does one become a better person when one is about to die? Does one become more desperate? Does money still mean anything? Is it ok to burn your candle at both ends? Amongst the audience there’s a couple watching the reality show. They decide who is to be voted out. But does the audience have a life when they just sit watching such things? “Make&Break” is a theatre piece packed in a reality show. Or is it the other way round?