SANDRA – coach of the LGBT female basketball team “Žalgirė”. She is lonely, so the girls on the team are like kids to her, she dreams of fashioning them in accordance with her mould and turning them into champions.
JANA – she looks at life quite simply, often says what she thinks in a straightforward manner. She sometimes wishes she could turn into a panda, just to be petted and loved by all, but she gives in to moments of weakness rather seldom. Power forward, the most foul-prone player on the team, the team captain.
TOMA – top model, trans-female, loving people, sharing the best she can and actively reaching her goal. A professional centre.
RADA – feminist, LGBT activist, always fighting for her truth, hates people who do not believe in anything. Alas, plays basketball rather poorly.
ASTA – easily adapting to circumstances, Rada’s girlfriend, bisexual. By the end of the play she gets pregnant and has no idea which to choose – motherhood or her relationship with Jana. Shooting guard.
ONA – heterosexual woman, married, has a son. Ona plays for the team because she does not feel comfortable in the world of heteronormal society. She is a new player on the team.
GODA – constantly spaced-out or under the influence. Likes everything – alcohol, pot, doping. Has a secret hope to find the love of her life but often ruins her relationships before they even start. Point guard.
LIZ – American, cheerful and flexible. A player whose disappearance would go unnoticed by her teammates for quite a while. Guard and occasionally a masseuse.
GRACE – Liza’s cousin.
CABARET PERFORMER – musician (best on accordion) and singer.
TWO GUYS, A GIRL.
HOW TO RUN ALL THE WAY TO ALASKA?
Basketball court, practice session. All players, except GODA, do a short-distance run, their coach SANDRA times them with her chronometer.
SANDRA All right, that’s it, let’s stop.
The girls line up.
SANDRA Asta – great. 4.3. You’re making one hell of a progress.
SANDRA Jana – 4.8. Within the norm, I’d say. But your momentum is too slow.
SANDRA Ona – also average. 4.9. What’s wrong with you girls – got stuffed on chicken?
JANA We’re just after the weekend.
SANDRA So what did you do over the weekend, hey? What’s the point in your diet, special menus, balanced nutrition? Why do we bring in experts, measure your weight and height? Now take a look at Toma, will you? Zappy like a little roe.
RADA She only feeds on grass.
TOMA Girls, I’m a model…
RADA You’ll snap in half soon, model.
SANDRA She did 4.7. And you, miss Rada, can’t pick up momentum.
RADA How can I, if we run just thirty metres?
SANDRA All right, I know, you are no pros. But don’t talk back like adolescents, OK?
RADA Jana and Goda are pros.
JANA Used to be.
SANDRA By the way, where’s Goda?
RADA So what’s my result?
SANDRA It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the attitude, you understand, the attitude? You must be tough, strong, fast. Like lynxes in the jungle. Why is our team called “Žalgirė”, ah?
RADA So what was my result?
SANDRA I saw this granny on TV, she was eating sand, running marathons, and climbing trees. Well, maybe sand is here beside the point, but one could really envy her agility.
LIZ And I…
SANDRA There’s no set age limit for our players. It doesn’t matter that this is an amateur team. If you want to pluck a fruit, you have to stand on tiptoe, get it?
RADA Discussing women’s age is a sexist thing.
Goda shows up, she is late.
SANDRA Now isn’t that nice. Goda, where’s your kit?
GODA I left it at home. I forgot… I’m sorry.
SANDRA Sorry? After I took you back to the team, that’s all you can say? For crispes sake! I’ve told you many times and I will hammer it into your heads over and over again: basketball is not your job, it is your life. You sleep – you dream of basketball, you eat – you munch on basketball, you get laid – the bodies bounce against each other like a basketball off the floor. Even in the loo, all you drop is basketballs. Balls, balls, balls. And now this – dammit, she forgot her kit!
GODA Sorry, but I lost track watching TV. Do you know what they said? That the next Amateur Olympics will take place in Alaska. Can you imagine it?
SANDRA Goda, today you’ll be just sitting on the bench. And watching us, kapish? I’ve had it with this attitude. Now get it through your heads – your life is basketball, your goal – three-pointers. At any cost.
TOMA And what if we went there?
SANDRA Are you out of your mind? First, you girls must learn to play, second, we’re one player short, third, where can we get the dough?
ASTA We’ll think of something.
RADA I could post an ad on the LGBT billboard in their office…
ASTA And we could search for sponsors or some grants and stuff.
TOMA Maybe we could find a discount on “Wizzair”…
JANA “Wizzair” to Alaska?
LIZ What? Alaska?
In low voice Rada translates for Liz the gist of the girls’ conversation.
GODA Sandra, we need to have a dream…
SANDRA I have a dream – to teach your girls to play.
LIZ My Dad has relatives in Alaska.
TOMA So it’s all on the way…
ALL GIRLS (gently) Sandra…
SANDRA And what do those airline tickets go for?
THERE IS A LAND
If you really have to translate this into the language of theatre, let this be a geography lesson when the girls were still quite young:
Alaska is a land located between Canada and the Bering Strait. It is the largest and least populated state of the USA. People first arrived there from Asia 15 to 40 thousand years ago and spread all over North America. So they all came and then moved on. And what could they have done there? What could they have grown there?
Eskimos, however, came up with things to do in the Alaska Peninsula, so they settled there 8 thousand years ago. What lovely nature… Which the Russian Empire gave up when it sold Alaska to the United States for 7 million dollars (2 cents per acre).
Alaska is surrounded by the Beaufort Sea, the Chukchi Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. To the West, the Bering Strait separates it from Russia.
About 70% of its territory is the land of permafrost.
Natural resources: oil, natural gas, timber, salmon, minerals, gold.
TWO CENTS PER ACRE
LOCKER-ROOM AT THE SPORTS ARENA. THE NEXT DAY.
Toma, Jana, Asta, and Liz are getting ready for their practice – putting on their kits, etc.
TOMA What do you think, guys, do we need some special facial cream for Alaska?
JANA We’re not in Alaska yet, are we?
TOMA Do you have to always rain on my parade?
Toma gets up and walks toward the restroom carrying her kit.
JANA Oy, oy, again our Barbie doll is off to change in the loo? What’s with the hiding?
TOMA To keep bears like you from tearing me to shreds.
Toma locks herself up in the restroom.
JANA And do you know why I got this bear tattoo on my back?
TOMA (off, from the restroom) I don’t, and I don’t care to know, it looks horrendous. What a nice patch of skin completely ruined…
JANA (to Asta) Did I mention, that my first love was a bear? Well, her name was actually Aliona, not exactly Bear but…
ASTA (to Toma) Listen, Toma, are you gonna take much longer? I also need to use the place…
TOMA Oh, the impatience of the human race!
ASTA Change in our locker-room – we can hear you’re doing nothing there, anyway.
TOMA (deliberately flushing the toilet) I am. Besides, I have a surprise for you.
Toma emerges from the restroom sporting a new-style kit.
TOMA Voilà! How do you like my presentation?
LIZ Wow, that’s a good one!
JANA Is this an outfit for sports or for a pub?
TOMA It doesn’t come from a factory, it’s all hand-made. I could sew the same for all of us, with my two hands, what do you say? This factory made stuff just makes it look like lockers – no boobs, no hips, no nothing…
Sandra and Rada enter the locker-room engaged in a discussion on how to get money for their trip.
SANDRA What? Thirty-two grand?
GODA Well, for the eight of us the fare would be somewhere about three thousand each…
RADA Plus the hotel rooms for a week.
SANDRA (noticing Toma) Nice little suit there, Toma. But it’s now time to change.
TOMA That’s not a suit, this is my presentation of a new design for our kits…
Enters drowsy Goda.
GODA Hello. I’m not late.
SANDRA So do you deserve a medal just for this?
GODA Do we have our tickets yet?
SANDRA If I were a millionaire, I’d take my little sweethearts wherever the hell they’d please. Designers would come up with puffed-up dresses for them and special “Speedy Gonzales” basketball shoes to boot. We’d be the stars, top of the world, believe you me.
JANA If you were a millionaire you’d never deal with such a losing proposition that we are.
SANDRA You’re not a losing proposition. You’re the future of Lithuania, is that clear? But to make that happen, you can’t be sleeping beauties.
TOMA (observing Goda as she changes) Oh, that’s a nice bra! Do you know that snakes are now in fashion?
GODA Is that a compliment?
TOMA Oh, yeah, for sure – it’s a cool design. Maybe we could somehow think about the kits…
Sandra wants to proceed to the court already but Ona shows up and the coach pauses.
ONA Hi, how are you…
RADA Oh, this is Onutė, our new teammate.
SANDRA I don’t know about the teammate right away. Well, but it’s nice to meet you. Did you ever play basketball before?
JANA Where did she dig her up?
ONA I did some time ago, at school…
SANDRA I see…
RADA By the way, she wasn’t bad at all.
SANDRA In which position?
ONA We didn’t think about positions back then. Just played and that was it…
JANA I’ll go and just play too, dammit.
Jana exits headed for the court.
ONA I’d really love to play for you, honest. I like obeying rules – I’m tidy, quick on the uptake, never late, I never borrow money, never lose my stuff. I don’t argue, and I don’t gripe.
RADA She’s the only one who responded to my ad. By the way, Ona is an awesome driver.
SANDRA What does driving have to do with it?
ONA I love adrenaline and speed.
TOMA Let the girl try.
SANDRA For now, she can try out the bench, and then…
GODA (cutting in) We’ll try the wrench.
SANDRA The ball, Goda.
SANDRA Only keep in mind, “Žalgirė” is not a hobby, and not a way to brighten up a boring marital co-existence with a filthy-rich hubby. You’ll sweat with the rest of us.
ONA My husband isn’t that rich.
GODA So she’s hetero, anyway…
ALL THE GIRLS Boo… (a kind of noise of disappointment)
RADA I’d ask you to have tolerance for hetero as well, ok? At least she works as a volunteer for the LGBT rather than drinking every night like some of us do, right?
GODA Oy, just go easy with your envy.
SANDRA All right, let’s go to the court. Less talk, more…
ALL THE GIRLS …action!
📖 For the full English version of the play “Alaska” contact the author Gabrielė Labanauskaitė → [email protected]