Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Plays Database

The Mystery of Jack and the Clones of Chaos

A time-traveller from the future journeys back to 2010 to investigate the strange case of Jack, a thirteen year old boy who believes his life is being taken over by alien clones of himself. The clones look and sound just like him, but behave in ways he never would. They are messy, dirty, rude, destructive, obsessed with girls, clothes and music, sometimes childish, sometimes violent and frightening and get him into all sorts of trouble with his mother, his friends and teachers. When they invade his bedroom, Jack teams up with a famous female pop singer in a final battle to regain control of his life. The time-traveller is revealed as Jack, now grown up, revisiting his own adolescence and coming face-to-face with his younger self. A comedy-drama play about the confusions and battles of growing up, it runs for 45 minutes and is performed by one adult male actor and one teenage male actor with multi-role playing.

Emil and the detectives

Emil and the Detectives is a famous classical novel by the German writer Erich Kästner. It’s about the adventures of a young boy who lives in the countryside. He goes on a journey to Berlin. He has never been there before. He falls asleep on the train and his money disappears from his pocket. He thinks that one of his fellow passengers was the thief – an adult. Looking trough the train-window he glimpses the suspected thief, and gets off the train to follow him. He doesn’t know where he is and he doesn’t how to catch the thief in the capital city which he doesn’t know at all. Some street-children help him to find out where the suspect is and finally, to catch him.

The story in the original novel takes place in Germany in the first part of the last century – a little bit far away from the present-day teenagers, who – unfortunately – don’t read too much. But the story about the solitude of children and about the unknown frightening adult-world must be interesting and exciting for them.

Adapting the story to contemporary Hungary, Peter Horvath changes the names of some of the minor characters and creates a new image for them, so that they can be easily identified with by today’s young audiences. Two young street musicians, one delivery boy, one computer nerd, two twin girls and one boy who is always using his video camera, help Emil to fight against the adult-world and the thief as well. They catch him (a real gangster) in a theatre, in which every character (and audience member) takes part in a strange, live-TV-show.

Whilst sticking to the main events of the original story, Peter Horvath adds some new aspects to it using the language of the children of today.

The Man on the Horse

In the yard of a secondary school there is a statue: a man on a horse. A king, maybe, or more probably a general… who knows? The plaque with information about the statue is illegible – it says – “and he doesn’t remember anymore who he represents.” Trying to discover it is his favourite occupation, when the lively routine of the institute gives him the time to do it.
But he remembers a lot of other things, and he is surely able to introduce us to the life of that school, of which he has been an attentive and passionate witness since some decades. Everybody loves him and his horse, and someone even opens his heart to the statue: for instance, a teacher, who comes in and tells him there is something strange going on in IIIA. Unusual behaviour, whispered sentences among the kids… what can be behind this? The lone hero is ready to help discovering it.

The story comes from a real fact happened in a school in Milan, where some kids created a role game, a sort of Monopoly based on the image of feudalism and fiefs, but a teacher forced them to stop with it. The play speaks about the creativity of young people, the need we all have to create, and about the difficulties that sometimes occur in the relationship between kids and teachers. But it’s also provides the opportunity to think about the experience of going to school, which in a way is different for each generation, but in another way is always the same.

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

The old sendentary and the young adventurer

The old sedentary and the young adventurer: The old teacher is a sort of sedentary farmer & The young schoolboy is a sort of sea adventurer

The schoolyards, that we used to know, no longer exist. Everything has changed. The buildings have changed. The teachers have changed. The schoolchildren have changed. Everything has changed. What stories are we supposed to tell? Which stories can we tell? Here today, we have two storytellers: one is an old professor, a sort of a sedentary farmer; the other is a young schoolboy, a sort of a sea adventurer. One loves lists. The other can’t live without his maps. Both tell school stories. All sorts of stories. The Old Sedentary, which has never left his hometown and is half buried in is own schoolyard, will describe and list the changes that time has imposed on the World and on himself. The Young Adventurer will tell describe and tell everything about the various schoolyards that he visited during the years and about his own changes. What can we tell but stories?

Once it hit me

The play takes place amongst the fourteen year old classmates in year 9,at a secondary school. The characters meet up at school, after school on the estate, or at home. The play opens with a scene of a school poetry recital, a long standing tradition at Slovakian schools. Students recite their texts, and their individual attitudes expose the nature of the characters, who try to survive puberty. Hippie environmentalist Sasha, who wants to rescue the world, is in love with Eman, a hip-hop clown. Dirt acts as though he’s a sexually experienced adult, he is in love with Sasha. The gloomy poet Eman loves Bela. Bela, a model, loves herself. All of these characters are talking about their everyday life, problems with love, parents and growing up. On Emans 15th birthday they are all planning to explore the adult world- the pub world. When they are kicked out of a bar because they are not yet 18, they decide to go to the pub at the train station. There, they make a video which shows how drunk they are and then run away without paying. The girls split up from the guys and stay the night at a disco, where older guys are buying them drinks. Sasha hates the attention they pay to Bela and runs away leaving Bela alone. The school teacher discovers the video from the previous night on youtube and that Sasha and Dirt are not at school. They are hanging out at Dirt’s apartment. The friendships between guys are marked by jealousy, love and lies.
“The word has tempted me” was first staged as a site-specific production in a regular secondary school classroom. The audience, pupils, get involved in the story by literally following the actors around the school, stopping at different places according to the plot (classroom, cloakroom, hallway). They have a unique chance to peek into spaces they would normally not be allowed (e.g.: boiler room, the toilets belonging to the opposite sex…) but above all, they get to see how their daily school environment can change into a theatre site and how the space opens up to new meanings.
Actors do not have any specific props and have to prepare different stage design made specifically for each school.

Bluer than usual

Finn likes Jules and Jules likes Finn. And life becomes complicated. Expectations, desires and anxieties get all mixed up – for the very first time, and turn their worlds upside down. Together they are searching for an island where their love can grow, but hostilities, envy and the inquisitiveness of others, get in their way. Finn relys on betrayal to save the relationship from sinking. His father risks a new start in life and is somewhat surprised to accidentally meet his early love. The kiosk owner packs up her life in endless, strange stories and has to face the fact, that certain feelings never die, no matter how old one is.
A play about the quest to find one’s own pace as a young human being in the storm of outside influences, about sex, love and the questions that one doesn’t dare to ask.

Last First Week

An old, abandoned school. The summer break is not yet over. But why is Armin going to school everyday anyway? And what is Mr. Fiedler still doing there? He retired before the summer break. At first Armin is scared when meeting the seemingly neglected Mr. Fiedler. But as he overcomes his shyness they become friends. Mr. Fiedler, at first upset by the young mischief-maker, then starts enjoying Armin’s company, too. But the next intruder is already on her way: Joëlle is spending her holidays with her father in the village. She lives in the city and is used to constant entertainment. Her father, however, doesn’t have time to care about Joëlle. For him, the village is an investment project. He’s planning to build new houses, whatever is old, has to go. Out of boredom, Joëlle is lingering around the old school. But she is by far not the only one:
A police woman is guarding the school during the holidays. She doesn’t like it when children are hanging around in places where they shouldn’t be. The skeleton from the biology class has been in the school for ages and knows stories about when Mr. Fiedler was a child and the cactus a delicate plant in a flower pot. The two sparrows under the roof are observing what is happening in and around the house. And then it all goes haywire: Mr. Fiedler is delivering a speech in the empty auditorium and talks about parallel universes. Joëlle sticks to her guns. Armin tries to learn more about the school from her. And the police woman has to escort Mr. Fiedler, the man who used to be her teacher, out of the school building.

Babel (Book of errors 1-7)

The old King Nimrod, the only survivor of the Big Disaster, sees his town Babel growing and growing. Unity is no longer evident. So he decides to build a tower as high as the sky, as a symbol of prosperity and understanding.
What do young Haran, Ylon and Sem think of it? Haran is dreaming of a paradise regained, Ylon is desperate about the vanity of life, and Sem is looking for his own position to Nimrod and the others.
The ancient God, observing that the tower is being built, is irritated, and sends another language to the town of Babel to disturb the building the tower. Despite this friendship and love sometimes bring the inhabitants a bit closer together and the building of the tower goes on. Will it be finished?

Babel[Book of Errors 1-5] is a play for 12-14 years old kids, about the struggle between the longing for understanding and unity on the one side, and the eternal mistrust and the development of individual identity on the other. Humor and bitterness alternate in the playful fantasy based on the biblical story of Babel, written for the cooperation between Teatro Elsinor (Milano) and Theater De Citadel (Groningen). Although being played in two languages, both the Italian and the Dutch audiences can understand every word of the misunderstanding.

What Light

In 2011 two fourteen year old boys, Jack and Daniel, best friends, argue violently about money and possessions, their families and who is to blame for the economic crisis their country is suffering. Ugly things are said about their families. Vicious opinions and accusations they have heard from their parents and learnt from the media are repeated. Their friendship is destroyed.
Suddenly it is 2061 and Jack and Daniel are old men. The world has been transformed and they live in squalor and poverty in tents in a bleak wilderness. Nothing remains of the world they knew as boys, except their hatred and mistrust, which has become an obsession with the years. Their days are spent in hatred and fear of each other and waiting for good things to fall from the sky or grow on the trees, which is all they remember from their youth.
Each has a grandchild, Sid and Nancy, who have known no other life, but now as they enter adolescence they begin to question their grandfathers’ view of the world and ask themselves why they hate each other so much and why life must be so brutal. Their tents are haunted by the zombie ghosts of global celebrities from 2011, who the grandfathers use to terrorise their grandchildren into accepting the situation. But the young people reject the past and their grandfathers and join forces. They destroy the power of the zombie ghosts and leave to find a better life. The grandfathers remember their boyhood friendship fifty years before and realise this is the world they created through their passive acceptance of the situation in the past and believing the lies they were told about each other. But hope lies in their grandchildren who are doing what they never did – asking questions and taking action.

pirat07&QueenOfLove - A Comic Style Story

A comics-style story about one fateful meeting that had to take place twice.

Karel, or Kájínek as his mother calls him, likes to draw maps. However, they are the sort of maps you won’t find in an atlas. They are charts that can only be used for navigating in one place, the virtual world of the internet. Karel lives alone with his mother. Since his mother isn’t at home very often, she doesn’t even notice that Karel is already thirteen. She treats him like a child, or else she isn’t there. And to cap it all, Karel’s girlfriend starts going out with his arch enemy….All of which makes it better to stay on the internet, in a virtual identity.

T. or Teresa, on the other hand, lives alone with her father. That is not good, since he is a dinosaur who has no idea what unhappiness T. suffers in the name of love. Her unrequited love for an ideal man named Zeca can only be cured by another, much stronger passion. One that she can experience with someone who is a real pirate. And so pirat07 and QueenOfLove meet somewhere in the virtual world, although he is Czech and she is Portuguese.

They spend a nice time in their virtual indentities. Conquering new worlds, dance in the air, even virtual wedding, so they could be man and wife. And they had Cote d`Azur, the place which they made new home. The colors are different in this fantasy world compared to the reality with which one has to live every day. In time their existence became virtual and their bodies walked in reality without life.

Luckily, one day a chance comes up to go to the real Cote d`Azur. It was in the holiday catalogue and Karel`s mother agreed to go. Also Teresa convinced her father, so the dream journey came true. And it was really a journey for change, although nobody may have noticed. But after thousands of kilometers there is something new between children and parents.

The meeting in France was… not successful. Without their virtual identities, there was no big love. It`s a pity, that you have to travel thousand of kilometers just to find out. But the parents apparently found themselves liking each other. And Karel`s dream of steering a catamaran became true. And Teresa learned a big portion of the French language with the beach boys. So, in the end, it wasn`t so unsuccessful. And Karel and Teresa have become good friends since then.

This story of love in a virtual world is inspired by comics, and tries to find a narrative form that brings this literary genre into the theatre. The result is not only comics-style poetics, but art design that rustles with paper drawings.

The Last Day of School

Text written for the PLATFORM 11+ Final production FACE ME Time of Transition

The purse

Tamás is 12, Anett and Berni are 9. The scene takes place today in Budapest. Several weeks pass during the scene.
One day the three of them decide together not to go to school. Tamás, who wants to become a scientist, is explaining the secrets of the spring sky to the girls, who listen to him seemingly enchanted. Actually, for the two girls, the reason they are ditching school is Tamás and not the mystery of astronomy. It is not even certain that they like the boy so much; they are rather inspired by who is going to come out on top in their battle.
Anett is from a rich family, knows the value and power of money terribly well and she doesn’t miss the opportunity to let the significantly less well-off Berni know this. But it seems she is not bothered by the lessons.
Tamás, the man of dreams, maybe notices none of this.
As Berni is not ready to act hurt and leave, Anett loses in the verbal conflict and is about to leave angrily when the children find a purse on the ground.
They find money in the purse – a lot of money, according to their notions.
The two girls outvote Tamás’ idea, that they give the wallet to a grown-up.
After short thinking they divide the sum between each other and go shopping.
Anett provokingly goes on a shopping spree, Berni is thrifty, Tamás, the dreamer spends it on expensive technical stuff. The boys appetite grows: he borrows money from – who else – Anett.
It seems Anett’s wallet never runs out of money and is always at the disposal of the other two. The way this is possible is that – first in secret, then openly – supplies the money from her own vast allowance. But she expects services in exchange for the money: first smaller, then bigger ones.
Tamás accepts the more and more humiliating tasks complacently, Berni revolts.
It is now not about the money they found, which without paying much attention they have already spent. Anett’s sources, through her very rich and unobservant father, seem inexhaustible, however, even in her case, there are more and more warning signs that maybe it will not last forever.
Slowly Tamás almost becomes a slave, Anett humiliates him baldly, almost to the degree of torture, but Berni is also in her trap. It seems that money makes all of them lose who they are.
After a completely humiliating scene in which Anett shows her worst, Berni and Tamás join forces… And to make matters worse, Anett’s father goes bankrupt and the source of money dwindles…

Black Stone

Short play written for the PLATFORM 11+ Final production FACE ME Time of Transition

Jack & Daniel’s Spectacular Comedy Guide to Girls

Short play written for the PLATFORM 11+ Final production FACE ME Time of Transition

Ghost Town

An east coast beach. A cold October dawn.
Megan lies face down on the tideline. Her head is bleeding and one of her shoes is missing.
Joe stands over her; watching, panicking. His world is about to explode.
Joe is a runaway, living in a decaying beach hut. Megan, who knows him from their home town, is astonished to find him here. He is different, riddled with fear and hiding a secret so dark that he takes Megan captive to be sure she won’t tell.
As the day unfolds, Megan and Joe try to make sense of their past, their mismatched memories of the events that have shaped them and discover what it truly means to be courageous.
Ghost Town is a play about friendship and betrayal. Thrown together on the beach, Megan and Joe explore for the first time the friendship they used to share and the events that pushed them apart. Each has a different slant, a different version of events. The play looks at how our choices and actions affect other people, and suggests that we don’t always understand or see the impact of what we do. It explores the ways in which we allow the past to shape us, and how we can break away from the patterns life sets out.
It is also a play about courage. Joe suffers from a version of OCD that plagues him with graphic images of hurting people, to the extent that he becomes convinced he has acted on this. He doesn’t understand the condition, nor has he put a name to the fear he lives with. His encounter on the beach with Megan sets a series of events in motion that allow him, for the first time in ages, to entertain a positive, hopeful thought. Megan and Joe’s courage in difficult circumstances allows them to see a more positive future.
Ghost Town is a story about lost friendship, memory, growing up and finding your way.

Victorias Station (Pokerface & Babyface)

Who am I? What do I want to be like? With whom will I go? Who wants to go with me? What should I wear? And what is love? All existential questions for twelve 12 year old Jella whose parents are preoccupied with themselves and their own problems – and can’t give her any clues. But fortunately she has friends and a sister. Using a minimal amount of language and playful packed scenes, Lilly Axster VICTORIA’S STATION is a sensitive portrait of a girl on the threshold of adulthood.

Oh boy!

Danilo, a Russian, and Sertac, a Turkish boy; two boys in a city that could not be more different. Really? Despite all the cultural differences at first glance, the second glance might perhaps show a few similarities.
The two boys get closer to each other, as Sertac watches Danilo measure the energy of lightning like a real scientific researcher. He does all this in the backyard of Sertacs father’s shop. At first the two find each other rather odd. But because of what they experience together in a competition for a big fashion show, Danilo and Sertac realize that they actually get on quite well together. But Sertac’s father observes the friendship with a boy of the “Russian Mafia” sceptically. Then, an incident Sertac’s father’s store casts a shadow on Danilo. The two friends have to be very courageous to keep their friendship alive and to defend it against the problems in the family. Because with the strong family honor in Sertac’s family and the separation of Danilo’s parents, the two eleven year olds actually have to plough through a lot of other areas.
“Oh, boy!”is a play about a very different male strong point and disassociation from identified role models. And a friendship that first looked like nothing and gives a lot more support than expected in the end, after the boys have sought and found their identity.

Five impossible minutes

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

A young, independent theatre group is asked to perform a five-minute spot at a large oil-industry conference. The pay is good, but there’s little time to prepare and opinions about the job differ. When the group decide to say yes to the lucrative offer, the drama really starts. Can they criticise the oil industry? Dare they do so? At what cost? And who’s in love with whom? They are young, discordant and invincible.

The young group has to undergo a series of challenging battles before they finally step on to the stage at the prestigious conference with their five impossible minutes.

Kim playing

(Written for DUS, the Norwegian version of the British program “Connect”)
Kim doesn’t like his new home; he’s got the smallest room and a new mother who doesn’t trust him. Kim, wanting to punish his father for dragging him away from the life he knew, sleeps outside at night and refuses to come home for dinner. Everyone in Kim’s vicinity has a summer job: His step-sister Becky is looking after Kim’s new-born half-brother while his big brother Jon is getting paid for looking after Kim. Kim won’t accept his big brother’s playing dad in his father’s absence and won’t be caught. In the end, he gets tired of running away and hiding. To protect himself and raise his status, Kim employs a watchman…