Waiting for Alviti – a one-act play by Tristan Jung

Characters:

Alternate Universe Tristan

Ruben

Former Inside NU EIC Zach Pereles


A football. A goalpost

Midday.

Tristan, sitting on the Lakefill, is trying to get BTN2Go to work on his phone. He taps the phone repeatedly, exasperated, but receives nothing. He gives up, exhausted, rests, tries again. As before.

Enter Ruben.

Tristan: Nothing to be done.

Ruben: I’m beginning to believe that myself. All my life I’ve been trying to do something, but it never comes to pass. I wander around saying, Ruben, you should really wash your dishes, be reasonable. But then I resume the struggle and play another game of FIFA. So there you are again.

Tristan: Am I?

Ruben: What?

Tristan: It’s an existential joke, like Rutger, you wouldn’t understand.

Ruben: (clearly ignoring pseudo-intellectual attempt at humor) Yes, it’s glad to see you on the Lakefill. I thought you’d be gone forever after Northwestern’s disaster at Duke two weeks ago.

Tristan: Me too.

Ruben: But you’re back watching Northwestern football! At least, you’re trying to. We have to celebrate, right now! It’s college football Saturday

Tristan: (irritably) Not now, not now.

Ruben: (hurt) So, Mr. Northwestern fan, why are you so upset? The app will work eventually. So, what happened last week again?

Tristan: Duke beat them 41-17.

Ruben: They play football in Durham?

Tristan: Unfortunately, yes. I can’t believe I watched the whole game.

Ruben: Well, if I hadn’t told you to come to Northwestern, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, and you would not have become a Northwestern football fan, so I guess I’m the root of the problem.

Tristan: No, I like watching football just fine. It was the quarterback. Thorson was awful. The whole offense was bad.

Ruben: Charming. Well, let’s go to Ryan Field, why are you sitting here waiting for the Northwestern/Bowling Green stream to work?

Tristan: First off, what Northwestern student would actually attend this game sober. Secondly…I need to know if Alviti is starting first. I won’t go if Thorson starts.

Ruben: Ah, Alviti! Are you sure this is the time?

Tristan: Yes, bench Thorson, I’m through with him. We gotta give Alviti his shot. Look, these comments on Inside NU’s public Facebook page are behind me. (shows Ruben his phone, which has automatically exited out of BTN2Go because the app is bad)

And on the Rivals board, which you should never frequent, obviously, there are whispers from my people, the Alvitians (pronounced Al-vee-shuns).

Ruben: How many secret Alviti purists are there, exactly?

Tristan: So many. We’ve been waiting for Alviti since the Trevor Siemian era. We’ve been growing in numbers, even as Alviti has lost starting quarterback battles to Siemian, Zack Oliver, and now Clayton Thorson. But we’ve never given up the faith.

Ruben: NFL starter Trevor Siemian, for the second year, mind you.

Tristan: But Siemian was a shadow of himself at Northwestern, as always, stuck underneath Mick “My Playbook is in Another Planet” McCall. We’ve always been sitting here, waiting for Alviti, waiting for the QB that was promised, the godlike Illinois recruit who has been waiting in the wings long enough. Did you see his touchdown pass to Riley Lees against Duke?

Ruben: I thought you didn’t watch the whole game. Yes, I saw it. 

Tristan: A member of the Alvitians forwarded the video to me. We have a Slack chat. It’s swell.

Ruben: So you’re saying…Northwestern should start Alviti.

Tristan: I’m not saying start, but eventually, the Alviti wave will crash over the motley sandcastle that is the Northwestern offense.

From the murky depths of Lake Michigan, a large purple and red submarine emerges from the depths. Zach Pereles, wearing Bryce Harper commemorative cornrows and a duct taped jersey of Robert Griffin III, leaps onto the shore.

Zach: I’m sorry, is this Alviti Defender bothering you?

Ruben: No, he’s just revealed that he’s a lunatic, that’s all.

Zach: I’m awful sorry about this, we’ve been trying to round up Alvitians whenever we can to send them to mandatory “hot sports take sensitivity training.” I noticed a large number of bench Thorson takes coming from the Lakefill, and I brought over our submarine. I apologize.

Tristan: This is an outrage.

Zach: Look sir, we’re not arresting you or anything, we just need you to go to Ryan Field and watch Clayton Thorson shred Bowling Green. Then you’ll understand.

Tristan: You can’t do this.

Zach: Look, you’ve been waiting for Alviti for almost four years. Don’t you understand it’s not going to happen? Alviti’s never coming; he’s the backup of backups. Remember Zack Oliver? He couldn’t beat Zach Oliver! Remember that fake field goal attempt against Nebraska? Remember the backup quarterback option against Ohio State? If this were presidential succession, Alviti wouldn’t even be the Vice President. He’d be the Designated Survivor.

Tristan: History has proven that the least likely of successors can bring greatness. Who imagined that an obscure artillery officer from Corsica would become Napoleon Bonaparte? Who envisioned a lowly Thracian barbarian named Maximinus Thrax would become a Roman Emperor? Who thought that the second son of an random Albanian shipping merchant would become the Sultan of Egypt? Speak it into existence, Zach, and it shall occur.

Ruben: Those historical examples are ridiculous. We’re talking about sports—

Tristan: (interrupting) TEBOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

Zach: Alright, this is getting out of hand. I’ve paid Northwestern a small fortune for this submarine, and I better get some use out of it.

Tristan: WE MUST START ALVITI OR ALL PERISH! THE FIRE RISESH!

Zach: Ok. Well, I have the moral and intellectual high ground. Just so you know. 

Ruben: That actually goes a long way in the United States of America!

Tristan: I wrote a song and dance number actually, the organization really liked it. I figured we’d all perform it at the Wisconsin game in the Northwestern section right at the end of the third quarter, so Alviti can come save the day in the nick of time. After that, we’ll sing “Put Your Hands up in the Air”, the best pump-up song ever written.

“Start Alviti” – (to the tune of “Take a Chance on Me” by ABBA)

If you change your mind, on the first in line

Fitzy I’m still free

Start Al-viiii-tiiii

If you need me, let me know, cause I’ve been around

If you need a pass to throw, I can get first downs

If you’re on the road, and Thorson’s throws have flown

Fitzy I’m still free

Start Al-vi-ti

Gonna do my very best with no O-Line

If you put me to the test, if you let me try

Start Al-vi-ti

“That’s all I ask of you, Fitz.”

(Background singers) Start Al-vi-ti

We can go bowling, get my arm going, get the team together

Listen to some music, maybe start throwing, and make the team better

Cuz’ I know you’ve got

Some games that you need to win, West favorites you’ve never been, it’s traaaaaagic

You want me to ride the pine, say Thorson’s doing fine

But I think you know

That I can throw

If you change your mind, on the first in line

Fitzy I’m still free

Start Al-vi-ti

If you need me, let him me, cause I’ve been around

If you need a pass to throw, I can get first downs

If you’re on the road, and Thorson’s throws have flown

Fitzy I’m still free

Start Al-vi-ti

Gonna do my very best with no O-Line

If you put me to the test, if you let me try

Start Al-vi-ti

“Come on, give me a break, will you?.”

(Background singers) Start Al-vi-ti

Oh, don’t take your time Fitzy, I’m in a hurry, Wisconsin’s gonna get you

You don’t want to start me, Fitzy don’t worry, Penn State gonna make you

Let me tell you now

My arm is strong enough, four years has made me tough, it’s traaaaaaaagic

But my hip is as good as new, you just saw what I can do

No I can’t let go

Cuz I’ve got to throw

(repeats chorus again)

Zach: Oh my goodness.

Ruben: Alright, I’m leaving, this was a waste of time. Life is a waste of time, but this is a waste of life, and therefore, a waste of a waste of time, which is somehow worse! 

Tristan: Live Alviti or die.

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