Written and directed by Nella Turkki and performed by Finnish actress Veera Alaverronen, PopOrNot?! is an applied puppetry performance about school violence and how it could be reduced. It’s a story of a girl who goes to a new school, where she faces uncomfortable situations, discrimination and school bullying in her group. Little by little the situation starts eating her inside, and a need for communication arises.
Told through visual elements like object theatre, dance and physical theatre, the performance communicates without words. Through animation of popcorns, microwave and caramels, it creates images that are open for the audience’s own interpretation. All of these objects represent some part of the school world and its social roles, and therefore they offer a visual vocabulary for communication about violence. The audience plays important part in the performance deciding possible ends for the story and giving several themes for it.
A drama workshop takes place after the performance. The students have the opportunity to explore and digest the subject with the help of various drama exercises that use the vocabulary of objects used in the performance. This vocabulary and creative approach to the subject enables the participants to talk about the subject openly and from the other perspective. The project has opened discussion about bullying and discrimination in the schools and helped in improving the atmosphere in the groups.
PopOrNot?! Is looking for new touring possibilities in Finland and also in other countries. As the performance doesn’t use words, the concept can be adapted also to other countries. As an applied art project it has been also formed for groups with some lingual and physical disabilities as well as different age groups in the school.
PopOrNot?! received funding from the Arts Promotion Centre in Finland and from the Culture Funding in The City of Turku in 2014.