Immaculata

 

a play by Stijn Devillé & Adriaan Van Aken
 
4 acts – 4 characters, all teenagers (Franky, Bernt, Lotte and a “Bizarre Girl with no name”)
act 1: the night
act 2: morning
act 3: time stops – before it begins
act 4: the shooting at noon
 
During the night, Franky sneaks out to go and watch the house of the girl he’s secretly in love with: Lotte. He stares at her window, but she doesn’t give a sign. As always. She doesn’t like him. Some blocks further away, her boyfriend Bernt is waiting for her. When she leaves the house to look for him, she meets Franky. They argue. Disappointed, Franky clears off and Lotte joins Bernt – to make love, in the open air, in the park. It’s the teenage romance, we’d all would have died for to have. And so they will.
 
At the other end of the park, the bizarre girl with no name, is still up. She’s writing. She’s alone with her elder sister. Mom’s dead, dad’s gone. She takes care of herself. She has to. She dresses like a new-waver, but acts like an adult. She isn’t very optimistic on what life has to offer. But what the hell, she’s alive, and that’s what counts.
 
Morning breaks and they all prepare to go to school. The Immaculata Institute, or fully the Institute of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. It’s an awfully plain school, in an awfully plain city, with awfully plain students. The four meet at the busstop. They don’t really know each other, and don’t really have anything to say to each other. They wait and think.
 
It seems an ordinary day at school. But at noon, Lotte hears something, a noise, something smacks. A door slamms, it echoes in the hall. She looks up, and sees Bernt falling. And then she sees the blood. Get down, Bernt says, somebody’s firing a gun.
 
All of the sudden, they’re all in the middle of a huge killing spree. On the playground, there’s chaos: junior students run to and fro. They’re shot almost immediatly. There’s gunfire everywhere and Bernt is bleeding to death. Lotte tries to hide him in the school library. She finds Franky and the bizarre girl are with her. When the killers enter, they will all be shot.
 
Though the content of the play is extremely realistic and refers to the shootings at Columbine High (US) or Erfurt (Germany), the writing itself tries not to be. Both authors use rhyme, verse, metrum (sometimes even explicit and bad taste “doggerel verse” ) to introduce a musical and theatrical aspect and to create a distance between form and content. During the shoot-out scene, you could actually put on a metronome. And although there’s much interaction between the characters, there’s almost no direct dialogue between them. They’re isolated teenagers, they don’t know each other, they don’t communicate.
 
In the text, each character/voice starts at another tabulator distance of the left margin. There are no other indications of characters (no names, numbers etc.).