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

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?

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.


Three actors are working together to create a new piece of theatre, retelling a timeless story; the creation of the world. Known only by the initials of I, V and L (in reference to the Finnish mythological characters Illmarinen, Vainomoinen and Lemminkainen from the traditional folk tale the Keravela) they are battling with their competing ideas in order to tell the story in ways which satisfy them all.

As they retell the ideas that once felt fresh and new it becomes clear to I that he has lost the imagination and creativity of his youth. He invites V and L to delve into their childhood experiences, to remember the imaginary friends, games and places of their early adolescence and revisit the chaotic and difficult moments when they realised their childhoods were ending.

Whilst I gains closure on his conflicted feelings, V begins to lose patience with the creative process and the need to behave like adults in the rehearsal. He launches into a musical attack on the adult experience in his song ‘forever young’, sending the rehearsal into a spiral of teenage angst.
Music, sex and violence collide as they recount the things in their lives they would rather forget, committed under the influence of hormones.

The group reforms after the embarrassing and potentially distressing memories they have shared with a renewed vigour to finish their story once and for all, but as they move onto the last section of the story they are finally halted by L who cannot but help feel left out of the play; echoing feelings from her late teenage years. She addresses her collaborators, sharing a series of intimate moments that have shaped her sense of insecurity and isolation.

By the end of the play the three actors have journeyed together through a difficult and troubled landscape; in attempting to tell one single story they have succeeded in creating a whole world of personal memories and reflections on the beginnings and endings of their adolescent experiences.
As they race towards the final stages of the piece, as their new world begins to take a shape and form they are left to question what sort of place it is they are creating on the stage. In deciding to create a world full of imperfections and troubled experiences they gain closure on their memories and learn to forgive others and themselves for the people they have been and for the people that they find themselves being today.