Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Katalin Györi (Hungary)


Text Extract

BOTI I think the whole thing started with Gyuri Lakos. He got left back in the eighth grade. He was the first to get left back. The rest just transferred in. Like Atka from Virányosi in the fourth grade, or Reni after sixth grade, who came over from the Mátyás. But Gyuri Lakos, he got left back. That was a new one. And then suddenly we started noticing him all over the place. In the classroom, at the janitor’s storage room, where he’d smoke during recess, in the corridors, in the window alcoves, his name was scratched on the desks. It was an in-your-face kind of thing. But what made it worse was that some of Gyuri Lakos started rubbing off on all of us.

CSABESZ Hey, Boti.
CSABESZ Say, feel like checkin’ out Atka’s new computer after school? New server, LCD monitor, the works. His folks aren’t home, we could try it out. What d’ya say?
BOTI What’s up with you?
CSABESZ Whaddya mean, what’s with me?
BOTI Your pants? Did you drop a load in them or what?
CSABESZ What’s with you?!
BOTI They’re just about draggin’ on the ground.
CSABESZ Lay off, will you? You’re not my mother!
BOTI It’s just kind of pathetic, you too…
CSABESZ Me too what?
BOTI Pulling a “Gyuri Lakos.”
CSABESZ Back off! That’s not what this is, it’s fashion.
BOTI Fashion? Maybe in American prisons.
CSABESZ Look, Boti, go home and surf the net if all you can do is break your friend’s ass.
BOTI No, really. The whole thing comes from America. The prisons. Low-slung crotch was a sign, so others would know you’re willing…
CSABESZ To do what?
BOTI You know, some action.
CSABESZ ’Cause they had women with them in there …
BOTI No, just men. That’s the point.
CSABESZ Okay, leave me alone now. All this lame-brain stuff.
BOTI Seriously. I read about it in Wikipedia.
CSABESZ Oh, because that’s Holy Scripture. Every mindless ape can upload his idiocy there.
BOTI Yeah, but it still comes in handy for Hungarian Lit assignments.
CSABESZ Oh sure! Especially last time, when I handed in an Ady paper which said that the poet had a kid by his lover, Léda, because that’s what some idiot wrote in Wikipedia, which is where I got Ady’s biography. Csiky had a fit and covered my Lit paper, with red marks.
BOTI Csabesz?
BOTI You went out during recess too?
CSABESZ Yeah, everybody was there.
BOTI No, not me. Not Lajos or Fazekas either. Or the girls.
CSABESZ Okay, but every boy in class went out there.
BOTI I just said, not me. Or Lajos or Fazekas.
CSABESZ Lajos is brain-dead, you know that as well as I do. All he does is breathe, that’s just about the only thing he does. And Fazekas’s father would wipe up the floor with him if he stepped out of line. He’s scared shitless.
BOTI What about me?
CSABESZ (shrugs)
BOTI What about me? C’mon!
CSABESZ Wha’do I know? Leave me alone, Boti. That’s your business.
BOTI You think I shat my pants?
CSABESZ (pause)
BOTI Thanks. I feel better now…
CSABESZ Now what are you bitching about? I told you to come, but you just sat there like some cripple.
BOTI I hate the way he just snaps his fingers and you’re all so hot to trot.
CSABESZ You’re only saying that because you didn’t come with us. You know what went on.
BOTI Why, what went on, huh?
CSABESZ See? You’re interested too. So get off your high horse.
BOTI I just can’t stand the way he calls the shots.
CSABESZ You’re stupid.
BOTI You all do whatever he wants.
CSABESZ Finally something’s happening, and you’re all mopey over it.
BOTI Csabesz?
BOTI So what happened?
CSABESZ We smoked grass.
BOTI Everybody?
CSABESZ Everybody. That stupid Atka inhaled deep.
BOTI Where’d he get it?
CSABESZ Wha’do I know? Some buddy of his.
BOTI Nobody saw?
CSABESZ Just that janitor, the bald one, you know. But he won’t snitch, he doesn’t give a shit what the kids do in school.
BOTI They’ll kick everybody out if they catch you.
CSABESZ But they won’t catch us.
BOTI You shouldn’t be doing that.
CSABESZ You’re only saying that ’cause you weren’t there.
BOTI You’re only doing it because Gyuri Lakos is doing it.


“It all started with Gyuri Lakos, who came to our class because he’s flunked” says Boti, an 8th grader in an ordinary Hungarian elementary school. The structure of the class immediately changes when this “new guy” appears on the scene. The girls all adore him, the boys either take his side and follow his example (smoking weed and being rebellious) or hate him, like Boti does.
The truth is, nobody really knows anything about him, like why his eyes were bruised for a while, or where he goes after school, or why he had to leave his previous school. Even his ethnicity is dubious (he might be a Roma guy), and students whisper strange things about his family. In the play we can follow the way the feelings and emotions of four students (Boti, Csabesz, Dóri and Ancsa), whirl, change and float amidst love, confusion, anger and humiliation, as they try to figure out who this boy really is.
Things seem to speed up a bit when Dóri (the straight A student, who is preparing to be European Champion in Gymnastics) writes a love letter to Lakos, who decides to post it on Facebook, and lets the others distribute copies of it in school.
The unexpected suicide of Gyuri Lakos brings all of these emotions to a halt. Students have to try and put together piece by piece what has happened to their classmate, as they give their testimonies to an invisible police officer. Even these testimonies lack cohesion, although some of them mention “violence within the family” referring to Lakos Gyuri’s dad. In the end, the students are still left with the burden of not knowing why he decided to delete himself from the list of humanity. Finally, Boti concludes everything by saying: “This was the end of the era of not being responsable for each other. This was the end of our childhood, really.”



Kolibri Theatre, Budapest / HU, January 2013

M: 3
F: 2