BLOOD BROTHERS

Translated by Ada Valaitis

 

CHARACTERS

JUOZAS – a twenty-year old male, small build, nervous movements. A person who has a difficult time feeling like he belongs not only in specific places and situations, but also the world in general. He is very light-skinned, almost albino. He speaks properly – it is evident that he comes from a middle class family and attended a good school. Although, he is sometimes unsure of the role he should play in certain situations, in which case his lexicon sways between artificially inappropriate jargon and politically motivated phrases, obviously a parroted repetition.

JONAS – a twenty-five year old male who has recently finished a Masters in information studies, though he is mature for his age. He is highly-emotional and highly-intelligent, even though he lives in the world of computers and does not recognize the warmth of human interaction and the subtleties of relationships. Though, he has been struck by Cupid’s arrow.

MARIJA – a naïve, but not foolish seventeen-year old, who views the world through the prism of love. Marija is almost like a fictional character, who likes the color pink, ice cream, and caramel. Her mother is an alcoholic and her father has emigrated to England. Marija lives with her grandmother, which explains her sometimes infantile behavior, arising from a strange understanding of life and circumstances.

ADAS – A thirty-five year old male who is always dressed in official militaristic gear, with his head shaved, precise mannerisms and stride – his movements are almost geometric. One gets the sense that his speech is encyclopedic, when in fact, he would like to speak as if from the Bible.

NINA – a Russian girl, who is friends with Adas and Marija, and who tries to hide her Russian accent and origins. She is usually successful at this, until she becomes flustered and cannot control her emotions. One might presume that she doesn’t love anyone, but this is not true. Nina likes herself and her weaknesses, which are most vividly realized with the help of Adas.

KAJUS – a voice audible during online chats. He is a male of Lithuanian descent who lives in the United States in San Francisco, California.

CHORAS – one or several persons who acts as a group, the journals, skinheads, and so forth.

 

PROLOGUE
I lost my brother
He slid under the ice
I lost my brother
When he was small, he really liked
swimming
I lost my brother
He didn’t know how to fish
I lost my brother
I tried to teach him
How to be a fish

 

JUOZAS. I want to disappear.
JONAS. Our parents didn’t know if they should get married. Lost, young, poor. They sat at the fountain and debated what to do.
JUOZAS. Idiots.
JONAS. Mother was pregnant.
JUOZAS. And what was she supposed to do? Just another mistake.
JONAS. I was born of whipped cream and cherries. Mother ate so much of them.
JUOZAS. Her friends were too embarrassed to sit next to her because the table would be covered in empty dishes. What a glutton.
JONAS. She was so round then. The most beautiful pregnant woman in the world.
JUOZAS. I was born of a broken lighter.
JONAS. That’s what dad used to say.
JUOZAS. Mother’s lighter didn’t work and she smoked like a chimney. Even then, she smoked like a chimney.
JONAS. “You are my most beautiful pregnant woman.”
JUOZAS. Dad would sit closest to her and light her up.
JONAS. Our parents didn’t experience true hardship – it was difficult right after they got married, but then they got back on their feet.
JUOZAS. Dad would beat mom up and get drunk. The neighbors called the police.
JONAS. Nothing happened.
JUOZAS. Mom denied everything.
JONAS. I guess you can say they got along pretty well.
JUOZAS. Dad fell over the railing, in the stairwell. From the third floor.
JONAS. I had a happy childhood.
JUOZAS. People say that mom pushed him. She was already pregnant with me then. Is that possible? Such a beautiful woman.
JONAS. When I was five, they bought me a tricycle. My son should learn how to drive – that’s what dad said to me.
JUOZAS. Really soon after, while I was still breastfeeding, another man was already sucking on her titties.
JONAS. Though, they broke up quickly. They went their separate ways. But no one explained any of this to me.
JUOZAS. Dad’s funeral was sad, but short.
JONAS. Mother…
JUOZAS. I hate that bitch.

 

I

TV talk show. The Chorus poses questions and ADAS responds.

CHORUS. What does “nationalism” mean to you?
ADAS. Respect for your homeland and your roots.
CHORUS. Then what do you think about the aggressive tactics of nationalist parties? Their actions affect regular people, too.
ADAS. I think that people have lost hope in change. We cannot even comprehend the nationalist mindset: they know that there is no home of peacefully resolving anything. The nation has a right to defend itself with arms, when political means have been exhausted. We don’t call those people killers, we call them partisans. The case in Scandinavia confirms this.
CHORUS. But is this type of violence justified?
ADAS. All of the victims fall “on the conscience of multiculturalism.” The politics of Islamization led to the point where people simply “lost it.”
CHORUS. For a long time, attacks against foreigners were not classified as nationalism, but as just plain hooliganism, which was a punishable offence. Now, the crimes of radical nationalists have become more extreme because there is no strict criminal responsibility.
ADAS. This is not true.
CHORUS. But, each year, the number of these types of crimes increases. For example, in Lithuania there is a 10–15 percent annual increase.
ADAS. Where are you getting these numbers?
CHORUS. The information analysis center has conducted a monthly monitoring of xenophobic attacks, especially those connected with ethnic or religious intolerance. According to preliminary data, during the first ever march for homosexual rights in Lithuania, at least 25 people were victims of nationalist attacks.
ADAS. So, there was no other option. Our country is being oppressed by foreigners and perverts – all of our problems stem from this.
CHORUS. But the government played ball with the nationalists – they conceded to them several years in a row. Aside from ideology, this game also had a pragmatic dimension: those in power wanted to ensure public support.
ADAS. The public supports us also. Every person has their own head on their shoulders.
CHORUS. But the government imparts in its rhetoric a certain nationalistic bent, so that they could collect more votes. This is how people are manipulated, without regard to either homosexual or heterosexual human rights.
ADAS. So, we’re all being manipulated. For ages, they coveted our land and our language. All who were able – Jews, Russians, Poles. So we, we are the victims, not them. Understand?
CHORUS. But we’ve been living in the current territory no longer than…
ADAS. That’s why Lithuanian Archduke Vytautas’s steed drank from the distant Black Sea. Our nation could have been magnificent!
CHORUS. We have a phone call from a viewer. Yes, hello, please introduce yourself…
CALLER. Horses don’t drink seawater!
ADAS. This is a metaphor, so to speak, a metaphor!
CALLER. What kind of a metaphor? Complete nonsense fed to complete idiots. You stupid nationalistic pig, don’t think you can fool us…

The phone call is cut off.

CHORUS. If there are no more phone calls, let’s continue the conversation. If that kind of a right, like for example, “Lithuania for Lithuanians!” is just for the “chosen” nationalities, then this is no longer nationalism, but elementary chauvinism and imperialism, because the goal is to justify the occupation of foreign ethnic lands.
ADAS. What are you talking about – this is not Russia! Lithuania is a small nation. We should be proud that we were the only Balts in ancient times who created our nation whose territory in the 13-15th centuries stretched all the way to the Black Sea.
CHORUS. You’re repeating yourself. Besides, this is a relatively brief period of time.
ADAS. Are there going to be any intelligent questions or comments?
CHORUS. In addition, Lithuanians did not even foster their own language – they corresponded with Western Europe in Latin and with Eastern Europe in the old clerical Slavic language. And what about the other nuances? Even now – we still can’t decide whether to look to the East or to the West. We’re selling out. And look at how many Lithuanians have emigrated? In Ireland, they’re migrant workers, just like the Chinese are here. Aside from this…
ADAS. This is clear, thank you for your questions.

Adas takes off the microphone and walks out.

 

II

Juozas is speaking to the prison psychologist.

JUOZAS. What time is it? It feels like a whole week’s gone by. Time moves so fucking slowly here. Yes, yes, I remember what we agreed. No curse words. But why are we constantly meeting? I hate digging around in my emotions like in some sort of trash heap. Besides, I’ve told you everything, I explained it to you a hundred times.

 

III

NINA (offering up some sort of powder). Want more?
MARIJA. What?
NINA. Mashka, don’t pretend you didn’t hear? Are you going deaf or something?
MARIJA. Stop calling me Mashka, I don’t like it.
NINA. Marija is a stupid name.
MARIJA. It’s a really beautiful name.
NINA. When I first heard it, I laughed so hard…
MARIJA. What’s so funny about it?
NINA. Do you remember when you came in and you were so scared? You sat in a corner until the last old woman left the pharmacy and then you timidly walked up and asked…
MARIJA. Do you have any gauze?
NINA. Gauze? What kind of gauze?
MARIJA. And I was so lost.
NINA. Well, what are you going to use it for?
MARIJA. I turned completely red, I didn’t know how to explain it to you.
NINA. Then I asked, “What’s your name?” And you answered so seriously: “Marija.”
MARIJA. “Holy maiden,” you leaned down to me, “you’re on your period.”
NINA. You were so surprised that I knew this. Your dress was stained with blood.
MARIJA. It all happened because of the gauze.
NINA. Well, I completely understood. You had lived only with your grandmother and a lot had changed in fifty years.
MARIJA. You showed me the packages like they were candies. Red, blue, white rustling packages. Your voice was very calming. You kept talking, explaining something…and all I could think about was chocolate.
NINA. You walked out without paying. You were so lost. But I was certain you’d repay the debt.
MARIJA. And I did, didn’t I?

 

IV

JUOZAS. I want some water. There was always a glass of water here during all of our conversations. You write, I drink water – that’s how it should be, especially if you want me to be more open. Ok fine, I’m done. What are we talking about today? You asked what I think makes a hero? Why? I wanted to be a hero, too. But to be a hero, you’ve got to do something fucking awesome, right? And you need an entourage to follow you around, guys who believe in you. But I wasn’t born a leader. I wasn’t even the firstborn. You think it’s easy to have an older brother and to be such a loser your whole life? “Oh, Jonas did better on his math exam. Oh, Jonas got here first…” Fuck him. I don’t give a shit about his first place wins. But, he also didn’t give a fuck about me – he, unlike my mother, never gave me any shit. We got along pretty well. He protected me. He gave me my first cigarette, even though he didn’t smoke. He asked a friend for one. We’re only four years apart. But we had different friends. When he was fifteen, I was eleven. When he was seventeen, I was thirteen. When he… Well… You get it.

 

V

KAJUS. What color are your eyes?
JONAS. Blue.
KAJUS. They look darker.
JONAS. It’s just the computer screen.
KAJUS. What?
JONAS. I mean, it’s the lighting on the screen.
KAJUS. Ok…How old are you?
JONAS. It’s right there.
KAJUS. Twenty nine?
JONAS (pause). Almost.
KAJUS. Almost?
JONAS. A little younger.
KAJUS. I really hope you’re legal.
JONAS. Hmm, let me think about it.
KAJUS. I’m serious – how old are you?
JONAS. And how old are you?
KAJUS. It’s my turn to ask questions.
JONAS (after a brief pause). Twenty three.
KAJUS. Are you lying to me?
JONAS. This is your third question? No, I’m not lying.
KAJUS. Ok, what’s your name?
JONAS. This is your fourth question.
KAJUS. It says here…
JONAS. Don’t pay attention to what it says. No one ever gives their real names on these forums.
KAJUS. But I did.
JONAS. Are you serious? You’re Kajus?
KAJUS. Yes, I’m Kajus.
JONAS. I’m Jonas.

 

VI

JUOZAS. Since Jonas left for university, he doesn’t really even come home. He calls sometimes and mom keeps sending him packages. I don’t know, I’d embarrassed about going to the post office to pick up sausages. He was a good student, got a scholarship, and would still take mom’s sausages. I went there once, to visit him. I was interested in the party scene, you know, what went on there. Yeah, but my brother doesn’t party. That’s why we went to the War Museum instead. Why would I lie? No way am I lying. Well, ok, I did run away from home, so what? It’s no big deal. Every normal teenager runs away at least once in their lives. What’s a normal teenager? I don’t know… I mean, my brother was into “Nirvana”. Like, that band. This is his big rebellious move when our parents weren’t home. I listen to “Skrewdriver”. So what?

 

VII

JONAS. Can we get started?
KAJUS. We can.
JONAS. What’s your favorite scent?
KAJUS (laughing). Remember, you only get to ask three questions.
JONAS. I want more.
KAJUS. Not yet.
JONAS. So you’re some sort of internet dating expert?
KAJUS. One to one.
JONAS. What?
KAJUS. You’re not the only person on these forums.
JONAS. You were following me?
KAJUS. No, only your statements.
JONAS. And what do you think?
KAJUS. Kind of…arrogant.
JONAS. What?
KAJUS. Well, you know, it’s like you think you’re some sort of expert…Life’s different.
JONAS. Ok. Let me ask you about your life – how old were you when you first had sex?
KAJUS. You really want to know?
JONAS. I don’t know… Well, maybe I’m more interested in whether it was a girl or a boy.
KAJUS. A girl.
JONAS. So how did you know that you were gay?
KAJUS. Because I didn’t like it.
JONAS. Ha, that’s all it took?
KAJUS. I don’t know. Sexual attraction, different things. Who you look at when you walk down the street. Tons of small details. It seems so obvious that it’s even difficult to explain.
JONAS. Were you ever in love?
KAJUS. And how many questions is that?
JONAS. Well, you haven’t even answered one of them completely.
KAJUS. Someone’s at the door. I’ve got to go.
JONAS. Kajus…shit.

 

VIII

NINA. I don’t know Juozas. I told you already. So what if maybe we passed each other in the street, maybe partied in a club together. The city is small. Like I said, I don’t know anything about him. Just that he was an athlete. Discus thrower, or whatever that is. He was really good at it. How do I know this, well yeah, cause his face was plastered all over the newspapers. That’s all I know…

 

IX

JUOZAS. Order exists only in the Army. Fitness, discipline, performance and an ideal understanding of one another. Soldiers aren’t just brothers, they are one body, working together. They are governed by completely different laws, other rules in the army.

Rule number one: Obey all external and internal rules.
Rule number two: Obey all higher ranking soldiers.
Rule number three: Always work operatively and assist your comrades.
Rule number four: Do not kill civilians without justification.
Rule number five: No cursing and no racial slurs.
Rule number six: Try to actively participate in lessons and fitness activities
Rule number seven: Don’t engage in gang warfare.
Rule number eight: After work, you must destroy your transport.
Rule number nine: Honor all of the players.
Rule number ten: Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse.
Enter!
 


📖 For the full English version of the play “Blood Brothers” contact the author Gabrielė Labanauskaitėgal@galdrama.lt