Tonight we begin the Fête de Lysistrata, a week of happenings and good times related to our upcoming (this Friday!) production of Lysistrata.
Lysistrata, in case you do not know, tells the story of how the women of Athens and Sparta bring about peace in the war between the two city-states, ending the Peloponnesian war. Their method: a sex strike: no , which raises more than military problems for the men of both cities. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge…)
The raucous, bawdy sex-striking, war-ending comedy was a perfect choice to perform in protest (in 2003) to the Bush administration’s build-up to the war in Iraq (remember Condi Rice’s “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”?), and New York actors Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower decided to do just that.
They announced their plans on the Internet in January 2003, and theatres from around the country, then from around the world, asked if they could join in. They organized (which means: they created a logo and decided on a date that everyone would perform or give readings of the comedy), and on March 3, 2003, almost 1,100 theatres around the world performed the play: A massive theatrical action for peace, using one of the oldest comedies in western literature.
Michael Patrick Kelly’s award-winning documentary, Operation Lysistrata, chronicles this striking event, interviewing actors both famous and unknown who participated in the Lysistrata Project, showing scenes from the multitude of readings and performances of the protest.
Actor and playwright Ellen McLaughlin wrote an adaptation of the comedy for the Lysistrata Project, and her version is the one we’re producing this week. She’s featured in the film and will be here on campus to discuss the play and participate in a talk-back of the opening night production.
The doors open tonight at 6:30, and everyone is invited.
This showing is part of the College of Arts and Science’s Themester theme: Making War/Making Peace.