A Hike at the Seashore
A Hike at the Seashore offers a snapshot into the lives of five Lithuanian women over fifty. All five are from Vilnius and have been friends since their university days. They have been through a lot together and are each others' support network. All five are divorced. All are single. All suffer from empty nest syndrome. All work as professionals. Every summer they organize a girls' trip together. This summer they have traveled to the Baltic Sea coast. The group's self-appointed organizer, Vida, is on a fitness binge and insists her girlfriends spend their much needed vacation hiking thirty kilometers along the Baltic coast with Alpine walking sticks. The only problem is that her girlfriends don't quite agree... The play is a comedy, but at the same time addresses social issues in today's Eastern Europe. These five women came of age under the Soviet system, but have had to build their adult lives under a fledgling democracy with its brutal post-Soviet brand of capitalism and other social problems. But, laughter and their tight friendship has gotten them through hard times. The women often use slang and joke around, make references to their lives in the good old Soviet Union. There is a lot to cry about too. Like all of my plays, A Hike at the Seashore raises contemporary social issues. Breast cancer is becoming an epidemic, especially in Lithuania where we still feel the legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Vilija, a sensitive literary editor is recovering from breast cancer. She has lost her hair from chemotherapy. She goes on the hike not at all sure if life is worth living anymore. Her girlfriends are all there to support her, but a conflict with Vida threatens to tear their friendships apart. Vida has been damaged by her experiences. She went into premature labor on the night of the January 13, 1991 Soviet attacks on the newly elected Lithuanian parliament and the television and radio towers. As she struggled to raise a premature baby during times of intense hardship during the economic blockade, her husband drank. When he grew up, her son left for England, leaving her alone. Now she is determined to wrestle whatever happiness she can out of life. Then there is Goda, a talented psychologist, who is on a never-ending quest to find her soul mate, despite the fact that its a little late for her in life and stigmas against middle-aged women in Lithuania discourage dating. Jurgita is a family doctor and has made it her life's mission to take care of her girlfriends' health, especially Vilija's. As a student Kotryna ditched her studies in psychology and took advantage of Gorbachev's perestroika to open her own cafe. She has never looked back since. The only problem is that she enjoys tasting her own baking just a little too much. She blames her weight on her hormones, but her girlfriends know better. Through economic hardships, divorces, empty nest syndrome, coping with aging parents, these women have stuck together, forming a type of “new family” or support system. The play was originally written and performed in Lithuanian. In this edition both Lithuanian and English language versions of the play are included along with stage directions. Also included are photographs from the Alternatyva Alternatyvai Theatre production of the play at Tallaght Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.
Scotts Valley, CA
English Language and Literature
Sruoginis, Laima. "A Hike at the Seashore," CreateSpace (2017).