– We dont give a damn about what happens in other countries, its none of our business. We have enough of our own problems! - We have too many foreigners in Sweden, we cant accept them all here. Send them back home!
These are some of the opinions that brought Teater UNO together. One could say that statements like these are one of the cornerstones of our work - one of the reasons why we exist. Our goal is to replace these opinions with a set of values - values based upon knowledge. And, conversely, these attitudes have proved well-suited to crushing themselves. It was an interest in what are called developing countries and Swedens not-always-so-perfect international face that brought us together.
The year was 1977 and we had found some homesick friends from Chile, Uruguay, Argentina In short: we were engaged with international problems and had some knowledge that we wanted to share with others. We were looking for an audience with the ability to understand the global perspectives and, of course, we wanted to reach as many as possible. We chose pupils in the final year of lower secondary school - the last stop before the serious segregation starts. We also found the most efficient tool - theatre.
Unfortunately, neither developing countries nor theatre are particularly subject with Swedish 15-16 year-olds. In some respects they are a very ungrateful audience, especially if youve been expecting a hopeful crowd in front of you. (Yes, we have been able to to make comparisons throughout the years. We have performed for hope-filled children and often shown our plays intended for youngsters, to interested adults.)
Some years ago a couple of Cuban theatre workers came with us to a school. Whilst they were still applauding after the show, about half of the audience had already seated themselves in the canteen. Our guests were very surprised; they found the pupils very impolite considering that they hade been invited to the theatre during school-hours, in htheir own school!
The way we tour with school-theatre for Swedish youth which has been our main occupation for over ten years - could be compared to a game of football where we are always the away-team. Sadly enough, we are often loosing by a couple of goals even before the match has started - sometimes it is even worse - and at other times its more like the logical 0-0, which we very much appreciate. Its essential for it be a draw before the break, and preferably to be in the lead.
Is this a piece on The
importance of masochism in Swedish youth-theatre?
Not at all. You know yourselves how much an away win is worth compared
to the expected victory at home. Generally we like to play youth-theatre.
You cant perform for an audience that you dont basically
They are susprised when, by different means, we get them to
understand that to a large extent, its up to them what the performance
is going to be like.
Carl Harlén 1990