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.



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.
ASTA Yeah!
SANDRA Jana – 4.8. Within the norm, I’d say. But your momentum is too slow.
JANA Sure.
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?


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.



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…
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.
ONA Certainly…
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]

Other Realities





Location in Lithuania, which later became their home


YOUNG MASTER. I kept looking in through the little window to see how you were writing. Concentrated, stooped over your desk. Never doubting your genius. Requiring special time for that. Special time, special space. I strived to create the kind of home for you in which you would be free like a bird in your poems. Free like your namesake river. Salomėja Nėris. There is a river of this name in Lithuania. Impetous and independent. The way you wanted to be, the way you always were.

MAIDEN. You made me a little glass window, a little window into my study where you were able to see my desk from the passageway and know whether I am working or resting. According to that you used to decide if you could disturb me or should rather leave me in peace. As the ink streamed onto the pages of my embroidered notebook, sometimes I felt your gaze gently caressing my back. This feeling used to flood my body with warmth and I smiled. The smile you did not see.

YOUNG MASTER. I felt everything. I designed this home in Paris, and we built it in Lithuania, in Palemonas, not far from Kaunas. Surrounded by pine trees, three kilometres from the lagoon, which has moved so much it can now be seen from our window. Pine tree logs, oak doors.

MAIDEN. We moved here with our baby son Saulius in our hands. Straight from the maternity hospital. I put our son into a pine wood cradle.

YOUNG MASTER. You were able to write anywhere. While rocking the child, every spare minute, when in the garden.

MAIDEN. I was always short of time, my lines started to crumble.

YOUNG MASTER. You were able to compose poems even from those crumbled lines. The nation liked you, your words became songs.

MAIDEN. I did not like to cook. I used to look into your working space through the special window which allowed me to see what you were doing even from the kitchen. I used to think: “Just don’t stop working”. So I would never have to serve food on our dining table.

YOUNG MASTER. Nevertheless, you always served it ingeniously.

MAIDEN. How to eat was always more important to me than what to eat.

YOUNG MASTER. You were a dashing housewife, my maiden!

MAIDEN. Wake up at dawn, weed the garden with my writers’ hands protected by gloves. Walk three kilometres to the train station, then get to Kaunas where I taught at the gymnasium. If there was no train – to walk those eight kilometres to the city centre…

YOUNG MASTER. Remember how once you walked to the national awards ceremony to get the best poet’s award that year.

MAIDEN. Then teach all day at school. Buy groceries in Kaunas because there was hardly anything in our backwater. Walk to the train station with two big shopping bags. Then ride a train home. Then – you meet me. And then I cook dinner. And boil poems together with potatoes. Then tumble into bed exhausted.

YOUNG MASTER. Into our oak bed. Big bed on a wooden dais. We used to sleep like royals, elevated above reality.

MAIDEN. I keep thinking about what we call reality. Do romantic dreams of adolescence dreamt while sitting leisurely on a bench in a courtyard and watching sunsets belong to reality? Or was it just a projection of youth? Being the only woman among many men – I can’t deny, it was flattering and I was proud of my opportunities – did it prove that there were no other good poets who were women or that I was simply lucky? When I graduated with a degree in Theology and Philosophy yet failed to come to believe in God, in fact, got even further from Him – was it more real than fanatical prayers to the sky? Is what we believe in real? Or perhaps it is the opposite? Real is just that which we doubt? When I came to believe in political leftists’ ideas and started expressing them in my poetry, was I one of those who could see clearly or those who were blinded?

YOUNG MASTER. Or when you wrote a poem to Stalin…

MAIDEN. Or when I wrote a poem to Stalin in which he saves the nation by bringing us the sun on his steel shoulders… Was I blinded by the rays of that sun and equality ideas? I believed that I cared about the nation. That I cared about ordinary people. While at the same time I was ashamed of my parents who were ordinary people.

YOUNG MASTER. Reality is an unceasing creation of our imagination, Salomėja.

MAIDEN. I always believed that I am smarter than others, that I can redeem the nation. And only upon my return to Lithuania from Moscow after the war, when I found a bunker and trenches dug around our house lined with volumes of my German encyclopedia, of the best paper…

YOUNG MASTER. And your relatives deported to Siberia…

MAIDEN. And intelligentsia all killed…

YOUNG MASTER. And the empty houses of those who survived, any way they could…

MAIDEN. I realised that I was just a cog in the machine, my darling. Just a genial cog in the machine. That was once needed for the sole purpose of spreading propaganda through its poems.

YOUNG MASTER. Oh, this is not…

MAIDEN. This is reality, my darling.

YOUNG MASTER. I know that you did not mean any harm. Any harm.

MAIDEN. My new poetry collections that challenged the government were not published. My wish to die in Lithuania and not Russia was not granted.

YOUNG MASTER. Too soon, everything happened too soon.

MAIDEN. God destined me to die young… In the early, unwritten, morning*…

YOUNG MASTER. But we are here now. Together.

MAIDEN. Tree to tree.

YOUNG MASTER. Two oaks, one on each side of the house entrance.

MAIDEN. Tree to tree.

YOUNG MASTER. From the wooden house.

MAIDEN. From the wooden fence.

YOUNG MASTER. From the wooden cradle.

MAIDEN. From the wooden bed.

YOUNG MASTER. From the wooden work desk.

MAIDEN. From the wooden writing desk.

YOUNG MASTER. From the good wood shelves for your books.

MAIDEN. From the bunkers lined with good paper.

YOUNG MASTER. Tree to tree.

MAIDEN. From the wooden coffin in which I was transported back to Lithuania.

YOUNG MASTER. From wooden coffins of all who were crushed by the system.

MAIDEN. I was just a cog. Just a cog in the iron machine of that entire governmental tree.

YOUNG MASTER. Salomėja, you were more than this reality.

MAIDEN. Our souls live in these oaks. One on the left, one on the right of the house entrance. Remember, they called us the same way we used to call each other: Maiden and Young Master.

YOUNG MASTER. Visitors go into our house and don’t know that our spirits are nearby.

MAIDEN. They are used to a different reality.

YOUNG MASTER. Do come, dear visitors, the Museum of poet Salomeja Neris and architect Bernardas Bučas is open every working day until 5 o’clock in the evening.

MAIDEN. Although sometimes the museum employees finish work somewhat earlier.

YOUNG MASTER. But this is yet another reality.