The Lysistrata Project
March 3, 2003: Day of the Lysistrata Project.
The Lysistrata Project is an organization created in January by two actresses, Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower. Blume had been working on an adaptation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata, when the subject matter--that the women of Greece withold sex from their husbands as a way to end the war--as being relative to the current situation in the United States, vis a vis Iraq. Together, they began spreading the idea of theaters around the country, bookclubs, small groups, individuals, all reading or attending a reading or staging of this play on March 3. The idea was to raise consciousness about the impending war. The response from the theater community both in the U.S. and abroad has been extremely positive, with "more than 900 venues in 56 countries" participating.1. The organizers have said that one can participate simply by taking the night to sit and read the play on his or her own, without attending a large reading.
Some in the theater community--at least on the mailing lists I read--have questioned whether this play is appropriate. Some have been annoyed by what they perceive as gender stereotypes, or that the play is unrealistic. What these people forget is that this is a comedy written 2500 years ago. It doesn't have to be realistic, and the gender stereotypes are expected. Indeed, one can subvert them in the way he or she performs the play.