Lysistrata: From λύω (lyo) to loosen, to undo, to disband and στρατός (stratos) army. Thus, Lysistrata: undoer, disbander of armies.
Written in 411BC
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Abby Walker (right) as Lysistrata and Bridie Harding as Kalyki in the Dramasoc production at Ngaio Marsh Theatre (University of Canterbury) Christchurch, New Zealand, March 2004.
Dir: Scott Koorey
Photo: Dean Kozanic
|Lampito||Athenian Delegate 2|
|Stratyllis(Women’s leader)||Manes (Cinesias’ slave- silent)|
|Lampito||Spartan Delegate 1|
|Ismenia||Spartan Delegate 2|
|Skythian – Female archer (policewoman -silent)||Philourgos|
|Other members of Stratyllis’ group||Phadrias|
|4 Scythian Archers (policemen-silent)|
|Various vagrants (silent)Other members of Drakis group (silent)|
Before the curtain is raised or on a dimly lit stage where only shadows are visible, stands the chorus of women, ie, Stratyllis’ group.
Sudden introduction of violent, disturbing, martial tambourines.
Fade out: tambourines
Fade in: passionate pleas by a mix of women’s voices, and cries of owls.
Women’s voices: They are standing at profile to the audience so that the shadows of their pleading hands can be accentuated.
Cry, all you mothers! Cry for your Adonis! Cry!
Cry! Adonis! Lament the death of Adonis! Cry,
cry mothers! Your Adonis is gone! Adonis is gone
for ever! Beautiful to all eyes, Adonis is gone!
Lament his death, mothers of sons!
Angry Woman 1: within
Tits and clits! Tits and clits! That’s what all this is about! That’s all they are ever after!
Angry Woman 2: within
That and war!
Angry Woman 3: within
Blood and gore!
Raise curtains or turn on appropriate stage lights.
Dawn. A public place in Athens at the foot of the acropolis, the entrance of which is a large gate at the centre of the stage. Gate and Parthenon are prominent. This is where the whole play takes place. The walls on the inside and on either side of the gate have parapets where actors will appear at various times. Lysistrata is holding an “invitation” which she waves about furiously as she paces back and forth. An archer (female police woman) guides two drunken derelicts through left to right.
FX: Fade out sound of owls. Pause.
Lysistrata: To the audience
If my invitation was for one of those orgies, like those held for Little Dick or High Dick or Low Clit, you wouldn’t be able to get through all the bum- and drum-beaters clogging the streets. But for this, no! Oh, no! Not a bloody woman in sight! Not one of them! Pause. Sees Caloniki in the distance, SL
Ah, except for my neighbour! Thank goodness… Hi, Caloniki!
Hi to you too, Lysistrata! Oh, but look at you, darling! Such frowns, such arrows for eyebrows! Not good for you babe. They’re so horribly ugly!
I’m fuming, Caloniki! I’m boiling inside. Damned women! Why on earth do men think we’re smart and cunning and capable of anything and everything?
Because we are, darling, we definitely are!
But you call them to a meeting, to a proper meeting, to discuss something of some importance –none of that obscene and trivial stuff they’re always on about- and where are they? Deaf and asleep!
But they have heard you, darling. They have. It’s just that… you know how it is. A woman’s exit from her abode is very, very difficult! Some have to go down on their husband, others have to raise their slave, others still, to put the baby to sleep, another still has to wash it, feed it, clean its poop…
There are far more important things to worry about than all that stuff, Caloniki!
Well? What is it, darling? What is this thing that’s so important, you had to bring together every woman in Greece? Is it such a big thing?
Oh? And thick?
O, it’s thick, all right!
Caloniki: Excited at a misconstrued prospect
Well then, where on earth are they all?
Lysistrata: Realises Caloniki is on the wrong prospect
No, no, it’s not what you’re thinking of, my dear. If it had been that, they’d all be well and truly here by now. No, it’s something else. Something that’s bothered me for a long time now. Believe me, I’ve lost a great deal of sleep, tossing this one over.
Ah, so, it’s a very delicate little thingy, then, this thing you’ve been tossing over?
I’ll tell you how delicate a thing it is, Caloniki! I’ve discovered that the salvation of the whole of Greece depends upon us, upon our tits and clits! That’s how delicate a thing it is! Tits and clits!
That’s what it’s all about!
Upon our tits and clits? She lifts first one tit then the other as if to balance them A delicate little thingy indeed! What a precarious balancing act!
All these awful goings on in our city, Caloniki! Just think! We’ll be rid of them all! All of them… Spartans, the lot!
Oh, yes, of course! Out with the Spartan bastards!
And of all the Boetians, too.
Ah, the Boetians! Well, the Boetians themselves, yes; their delicious eels, though, Lysistrata, absolutely not!
As for Athens, my tongue won’t utter a thing but you get my meaning… If all the women would gather here, Caloniki, from Boetia, from Sparta, all of them, believe me – all of us, together, we can save Greece!
Us? But my dear, what have we women ever done that’s intelligent or that requires any skill at all? We all just sit around on our bums all day long, looking pretty, begemmed, beflowered and plastered with make-up, naked under our see-through saffron gowns and wearing our cute little “fuck-me-please” slippers!
Exactly! That’s exactly the stuff by which I’m planning to save Greece, darling! With the scents and the make-up and the flowers and those cute little “fuck-me-please-I’m-cute” slippers and the dainty little see-through gowns!
What? What on earth could you achieve with that stuff?
Peace, my dear! Peace among men! No longer will a man thrust his spear against another man!
Is that right? Well then, if that’s the case I’m off to powder my nose right now…
Nor will he raise a shield in front of him…
Mmm… and to put on my see-through…
Nor will he ever carry a sword…
Ohhhh! And my cute little “fuck-me-please” slippers…
So! Shouldn’t all these women have been here by now?
Caloniki: back to the issue
Definitely. They should all have flown right over!
Yea, well, what do you expect? Damned Athenian women! Always late! Late for everything! Damn it! Not even those from the shore!
Yet I do know that they have all hopped off their little Indicating her genitals boats early this morning and they’re on their way here, they’re… coming right now, I’m sure!
Grrr! Not even those I thought showed some real interest in this! They’re not here yet, either… God, not even the Acharnians!
But, darling, even Theagenes’ wife is coming. I saw the superstitious twit visiting Hecate’s temple before setting off… Sees some women in the distance) Aha! Here they all are! I told you! They’re coming, Lysistrata, all of them! (Pinches her nose) Phew! Where on earth are they all from?
Bog Burrow! Twenty Ks south of Thebes!
Phew! Well, then, let’s not stir them up any more than we have to, shall we? Pooooh!
Enter Myrrhini. She’s wearing a beautiful gown with which she is very happy and with which is often preoccupied by displaying it admiringly at every occasion; so much so that her words in line 114 have some effect.
We’re not too late, are we Lysistrata? Lysistrata is too angry to speak Well, what’s up, darling? Speak up, darling!
Everyone’s heard exactly what it’s all about, Myrrhini! I’m not impressed with you, at all!
But it took me ages to find my knickers in the dark, Lysistrata. Anyway, what’s up? What’s going on? Tell us, now that we’re all here.
No, not yet. Let’s wait a little longer for the Boetian and Spartan women to arrive.
True… she looks around impatiently until… ah, here’s Lampito!
Lysistrata: Rushes over to Lampito and, impressed by her body, begins to fondle it excitedly, lasciviously.
Hello Lampito! Oh! Oh, my darling Spartan! How positively fructiferous is your beauty. What a colour, what a vigorous, horny body! Darling, I think you could strangle a bull with this body!
Yeah, I think I could, too, Lysistrata. I exercise regularly. I mean very regularly and I go through every bit of me, every bit of me – including my bumhole!
Mmm! Your titties, too!
Hey! Why are you groping me like that… like I was some sacrificial cow?
Lysistrata stops the groping and turns her attention to the new woman on the stage
Ah! And this one? Who is this young beauty, then?
That’s the delegate sent to you from Boetia. By the name of Ismenia.
Lysistrata: Prodding similarly
Boetia, yes! Points at Ismenia’s pudenda. Boetia of the beautiful meadows! How positively gorgeous your meadow looks, Ismenia!
Yea, with elegant little itchy-bitchy curly whirly penny royals growing so neatly and tightly all around that lovely meadow!
Enter Corinthian whore.
And this other child?
Ah, yes! Now, that there – that’s pure Corinthian whore meat, that one! The real stuff!
All others whisper excitedly to each other the words, “whore”, “from Corinth” and “Corinth has the best whores!”
Mmmm, yes, pure, indeed! Both front and back!
So, then! Who’s gathered this fleet of flesh here?
Aha? And why? Come on, name your passion, girl!
Yes, darling, tell us what’s so important.
I will, I will, but first, let me ask you all one question.
Tell me, please, all of you: Do you not miss your husband’s pricks? Your sons’ father? I mean, while he’s away at war? I know very well that all of you have your husband away at the moment. Not one of them is here with you. Isn’t that so?
Mine, in fact, the poor bugger, has been in Thrace for the last five months. Guarding that idiot of a general, Eucrates.
And mine, seven months at Pylos.
And if mine ever manages to steal away for a quickie, they rush over, nab him by the handle and quickly whisk him away back to the front!
And so, girls, when fucking time comes… not the faintest whiff of it anywhere, right? From the time those Milesians betrayed us, we can’t even find our eight-fingered leather dildos. At least they’d serve as a sort of small-comfort-flesh-replacement” thingy! So, then! Would you like me to find some mechanism by which we could end this war?
If this was truly possible, Lysistrata, darling, I’d start the celebratory drinks right now… Even if it meant I’d have to sell this gorgeous gown to buy the wine.
Me too! Even if… even if I’m torn in two, like… like a fish on the grill and have half of me thrown away!
And me… I’d climb all the way up to the tip of our mount Taygetus to be able to see our beloved Peace.
Well, in that case, I’ll tell you now what I’ve discovered because I don’t think I can hide it any longer. Now! If we women really want our men to make peace, then we must… abstain!
Huh? From what? Please explain?
Lysistrata: Still reluctant to make the revelation
Ummmm… From something… Will you do it?
Sure! Even if it means our death, Lysistrata but, tell us, what do we have to do?
We will go on strike! We will all abstain from cocks! Triumphant No more cock!
Corinthian whore begins to cry -it’s her living. The others begin to walk away. Distressed now as she sees that the others don’t agree with her.
Hey, what’s up? Where are you off to? What’s with the frowns and the sad looks? How pale you all look suddenly! What’s with the tears? Will you do as we said? Talk to me! What’s your decision?
Me? I… I just can’t do it, Lysistrata. Not me. I… Let the war drag on, Lysistrata!
Yea, me too, Lysistrata. Let the war go on…
Even you, Caloniki! You were just talking about being a fish cut in two, half of it tossed away!
Anything else, Lysistrata. We’ll do anything else you want but… well, better in the fire than out of the bed, sweetheart! Better with the fire than without the cock! That can never do, darling!
And you, Lampito? What do you say?
Better in the fire than out of the bed.
What a lot of bum-torn sluts each and every single one of our sex is! The tragedians are right about us then! Screwing above all else! No regard for the consequences! Turns to Lampito, imploring her. But you, my darling Spartan, you and I, Lampito, just the two of us could still save the matter. Come on, vote with me!
Lampito: Thinks deeply, paces back and forth, agonises over the question.
It’s true, damn it! It’s a harsh and difficult thing for a woman to go to sleep, alone. Without a prick, I mean. Yet… yet… yet, we must! We must have peace!
Oh, true Spartan! You’re the only real woman here!
But if we did go on strike, if -Zeus forfend!- if we did do as you said… will this really give us Peace?
Absolutely, Caloniki! Look! All we have to do is we simply stay indoors, put our luscious make-up on, naked beneath our flimsy little blouses, our short and curlies thoroughly coiffured and plucked, and we just sit and wait for our man. Soldier-hubby comes in, sees us and immediately stands at attention!
Solid, stiff and horny!
He’s torn to shreds with lust. But we move back! We simply don’t go to bed with him. I can assure you, darlings, Peace will be signed before you can say, “come again?”
Just like Menelaos and Helen. Helen flashes her tits at him once and our boy throws his sword away for ever! Ha, ha, ha! He was going to kill her only a second before that – for what she’d done to Greece!
But what if the men go on strike, too and we get horny instead?
Well, then darlings, we are all well acquainted with Pherecrates, for goodness’ sake, aren’t we? We do as he did: beat the beaten bitch! In other words, wank!
Nah! Mimicking others is crap… What if they drag us into the bedroom?
Take a tight grip of your flaps, darling!
What if they beat us then?
Well… all right, we give in to them, then but we make it hard for them, my dears: we cross our legs or something, because it’s no fun for them if they have to work hard for it. They’ll quickly give up. A man just won’t enjoy himself if the woman won’t help in the process… of him enjoying himself!
Right! Well, then. If you two agree, then we agree also. We are with you Lysistrata!
Yes! All right then. But we, we the Spartan women, we will be able to do this, to persuade our husbands to bring about a good and honourable peace, straight away; but what about all these war-mongering Athenian pricks you’ve got here? Who’ll straighten them out?
Don’t you worry about them, Lampito, darling, we’ll see to them!
Not very likely. Not while they’ve got all those ships in the sea and all that loot locked up in there (indicating the Acropolis) Inside the temple of Athena!
Nah! We’ve thought of that, too, Lampito. No problem. Today, we’ll take over the Acropolis! While we’re all here getting all this prick-protest organised, the older women will be going up, in there, under the pretence of conducting rituals and sacrifices and, as soon as they get inside, they’ll seize the place! Take it over!
A Skythian policewoman, armed to the teeth (helmet, bow, arrows, shield, sword, knife) is walking by. She sees the group in a tightly knit gathering and stops to examine suspiciously.
Oh, ho! Well then! That’s great! A very well thought-out plan, Lysistrata! Very thorough, indeed! Well done, girl!
Thank you, Lampito. Right, then! Now quickly, let’s take a good, strong, inexorable, unbreakable, no-loopholes, oath!
Give us the words and deeds, Lysistrata and we’ll do it!
Good, now… Sees the Skythian policewoman
Hey, you! Cop woman! Yes, you! What are you leering at? Bring me that shield of yours here! The policewoman obeys dumbly
Put it right here! Now turn it upside down.
The policewoman obeys again.
Now, someone bring me some entrails!
The policewoman likes all this and from now on joins the group
Entrails? Entrails, Lysistrata? What sort of an oath do you want us to take, for goodness’ sake?
What sort? The sort you perform upon a shield, like the one Aischylus mentions somewhere, you know… where the soldiers kill a sheep and…
Lysistrata! We can’t swear an oath for Peace by spilling blood on a shield!
Well? What sort of an oath do you all want, then?
I know! Let’s grab a white horse from somewhere, kill it and get its sacred little bits! The horsey’s little bits, I mean. How’s that?
Lysistrata: She’s shocked
What white horse, Caloniki? What little bits? What’s in that head of yours?
The little bits underneath… Well what do we swear upon then?
I’ll tell you what I think, if you like: Let’s sacrifice a wine jug, instead. Get a huge black cup, put it on the ground here, then get a jug of that lovely wine from Thasos, break it open and swear to the cup that… that we won’t pollute it by adding water to it!
Yes! Now that’s what I call an impressive oath!
So, let’s bring the bowl and the wine skin then!
The Skythian archer runs off enthusiastically and, a moment later, returns with the bowl and wine jug. Lysistrata, impressed at the Skythian’s speed, efficiency and willingness to join her rebellious group, smiles at her, takes the jug and lifts it in the air. Caloniki lifts the bowl admiringly.
Ooooh! My darlings, look! What a lovely bowl! One gets horny just by touching it!
Caloniki! Put that bowl down and all of you place one hand on my jug! They all obey. Lysistrata takes on the serious demeanour of an earnest prayer
Goddess Persuasion, and you, too, bowl, accept this, our offering with grace!
She pours the wine into the bowl.
What sparkling blood! And how well it decants!
And how sweet is its aroma!
Let me be the first to take the oath!
No! Not unless we draw lots and your name is drawn first!
Lampito, and the rest of you, too. All together: Repeat after me:
There’s no prick, lover’s or husband’s…
There’s no prick, lover’s or husband’s…
That will approach me erect…
That will approach me erect…
Damn it, Lysistrata, my knees are wobbly! “That will approach me erect…”
Shut in at home, I’ll live prickless and chaste…
Shut in at home, I’ll live prickless and chaste…
And I’ll be dressed seductively and be beautifully made up…
And I’ll be dressed seductively and be beautifully made up…
So as to set on fire my man’s desire…
So as to set on fire my man’s desire…
And let him not fuck me with my consent…
And let him not fuck me with my consent…
But if the prick forces itself upon me…
But if the prick forces itself upon me…
I will not reach orgasm… at the same time as it does…
I will not reach orgasm… at the same time as it does…
I will not have my slippers raised to the ceiling…
I will not have my slippers raised to the ceiling…
Nor will I, like a whore, take up for him the position of the lioness-on-a-cheese-grater…
All the women except the Corinthian Whore look at each other bemused. They’ve no idea what Lysistrata means by the last oath. The Corinthian Whore though, nods and smiles knowingly.
Nor will I, like a whore, take up for him the position of the lioness-on-a-cheese-grater…
And so, to bind all this together, we hereby drink this wine…
And so, to bind all this together, we hereby drink this wine…
And if I break this solemn oath may the wine I drink turn to water…
And if I break this solemn oath may the wine I drink turn to water…
Have you all sworn with me?
We sure have!
Now bring me the cup that I may sanctify it.
Give me some too, so that the oath will bind us all well and tight.
Shouting and commotion behind the walls.
What’s all the noise?
Aha! Just like I said. Our older women have seized the Acropolis. Quickly now, Lampito, you head off to act on your end of the bargain. Go to Sparta, quickly… but leave these friends of yours here with us… (lustily) as goodwill. The rest of us will go over to the Acropolis and toss the bars over the gates.
But don’t you think the men will band together and rush us?
I’m not worried about that one little bit, Caloniki. Even if they threaten us with fire and even if they manage to open the gates, so what? We’ll do as we’ve just sworn, right?
Right! Of course. Yes! Otherwise we’ll remain for ever as we always were: cowards and whores to them all!
Exit all into the acropolis.
A group of twelve men walks in from SL (stage left will henceforth be “their territory.” It is where they will be retreating to when business asks for a retreat.)
They all wear a surfeit of clothes which they take off one at a time at various instances for comedic effect.
Drakis, its leader, is negotiating his grip on a long branch on his shoulders and a fire-making pot of sorts which makes much smoke. Between them all they are carrying wood of some sort or other, branches, kindling, etc, as well as crow bars, ramming rods and such like implements that may be useful for breaking and entering. Drakis is walking just a little ahead of the others and, like the others, is irritated by coughing fits brought about by the smoke.
Drakis: Talking to himself
Go on, my poor boy! Go on Drakis! Even if your shoulder is breaking under the strain of this huge, damp olive log! Go on, my boy! Cough, cough!
Philourgos: To Strynidoros
Long life brings you so many surprises, hey, my good friend, Strynidoros? Things which I have never ever hoped to see or hear.
Women! Women, who we’ve husbanded, who we’ve nurtured, who we’ve maintained and who have caused us so much fuss!
So much fuss!
Now they’ve gone and taken over the Acropolis. Stolen the sacred statue of our protector, Athena and they’ve driven bars and padlocks into her gates!
Let’s move as fast as we can, Philourgos. Come on, let’s place these branches all around…
Let’s teach them a lesson…
Let’s light a high flame…
Fry the lot of ‘em…
First, among them all, Lycos’ wife, Rhodia! Haha! A bastard of a politician deserves a… slut of a wife!
…a slut of a wife! Cough, cough! A faithful slut! Slut to the end! Hahaha!
By Demeter, no one will dare laugh at us while we’re alive…
Drakis: Stops, turns and talks to the others, laughing
Remember old Cleomenes, boys?
Ah, yes, Drakis! That’s right! He tried this little trick once, too, didn’t he?
Even he didn’t escape unpunished.
Shat himself and had to surrender his arms to me!
True Spartan, though. Ran off without a shirt on his back. Unwashed for six years, unshaven…
Stank to high Heaven, hey Phadrias? Hahaha! Cough, cough!
Hehehehe! This is how we surrounded the city, men!
But he was besieged by seventeen men, Drakis. Totally surrounded!
They spent the whole night at the gates.
Drakis: Pointing at the Acropolis
So that these here god-hated women…
Hated by God and by Euripides, by God!
Drakis: With contempt
Bah!These women are nothing to us, hey men? Cough, cough! Nothing!
Our Victory will shine throughout Athens, our four-headed city!
Drakis: Takes up his equipment again. He’s visibly struggling.
Just a little way left now and we’re there, Drakis, my good man!
And we’re doing all this without even a donkey to help us, hey, Strynidoros? On our own bare backs!
Ouch! Damned logs! Two of them have gone and lodged themselves right into my bones… ah, well, what can one do, Phadrias? Adjusts himself
We must go on, go on, go on! Walk up the hill, walk up the hill, walk on, walk on, walk on…
…and blow hard at the fire He blows into the fire pot. The smoke proliferates. Phoo, phoo!
What smoke! By mighty Hercules, what sooty dread!
What… ouch! Arghhhhhh! What horror -cough, cough- was it that jumped out of there and, like a bitch-on-heat tore at my eyeballs?
Like the Volcano of Lemnos, hey, Drakis? This machine smokes and smokes… cough, cough!
…and scorched and filled my eyes with gunk.
You men go on ahead of me to the city! Run to the aid of Athena! Phoo, phoo! What smoke, what horror!
Philourgos: They’ve now reached SR
It’s up to Heaven now, whether the fire burns or not. Let’s leave the wood here and light up new, leafless vines.
Then, all of us together, we’ll charge at the gates, hey?
And if the women won’t pull back the bolts, then, we’ll set them all on fire!
Phoo, phoo, cough, cough! There! I think now we’re winning!
Put down the wood. Cough, splatter, choke… The smoke will kill us!
Ah, for a Samian general to take this wood from my hands!
There, I’m putting mine down here. They’ve bust my balls.
Drakis: Talking to the pot
It’s up to you now, little potsy. Light this coal and start the fire! Go on!
Phadrias: Raises his hands in prayer
Help us Glorious Victory, come, stand beside us and drive your triumph right up into those cocky women!
They leave the pot down and retreat quietly to their territory, occupying themselves with various preparations. They do not notice the women when they enter the stage later. A small pause before we hear the shouting of women off stage. When they appear from the opposite side we see that it’s a group, similar in number, age and disposition as the old men. They will form the second warring party and SR will be “their territory.” Their leader is Stratyllis. They are carrying buckets, urns, jugs and pitchers of all sorts, filled with water. They’ve noticed the smoke and are walking through it but they’ve not seen the men yet.
Stratyllis: Off stage
Come quickly, girls! All this smoke must mean that there’s a lot of fire! Run Niki, run, or you’ll burn dear. You, too, Kali, run or you’ll burn, sweetie! Kryti, darling! You’re surrounded by smoke, dear and so is everything else around here! Hateful men! We’ll lose everything with their stupid laws!
Enter women (SR. Their territory). They carry clubs, sticks, brooms and all sorts of other makeshift weapons, as well as buckets full of water.
Krytilli: To Stratyllis
I was at the taps very early this morning, Stratyllis, before dawn, even, trying to fill my pitcher with water and help save these poor friends of ours in there but – God, I hope I’m not too late for that! All that commotion and fuss and traffic I had to put up with! Every slave in town was jostling me about. I heard that some old men – must be wankers the lot of them -were carting sticks and logs around here, threatening to set us on fire, turn us all into charcoal, they said!
Dear God, I hope I never get to see my sisters burn like kindling by these bastards.
Yes, let’s save them all from the horror of war!
Let’s save Greece and all her people, my dear goddess, Athena, goddess of the golden helmet!
Stratyllis: She is walking on into the men’s territory, still without noticing them.
Oh, Athena, thrice-born! We’ve surrounded your home and ask you to be our ally!
God, please give no time to these bastards to build a proper fire. Help us with our water carrying!
Stratyllis suddenly finds herself inside Draki’s arms. He frightens her and grabs her by the dress. She runs back towards her friends, screaming. The dress is torn from her. The rest of the men now come into focus also.
Let me go, you old wanker! Help, help!
What is all this? You… you evil bastards! What are you up to, hey? You must be the real nasty type if all this smoke is your doing!
Other women come to Stratyllis’ aid and help her escape. They then turn ferociously upon Drakis, pelting him with all their weapons.
Enough! Oh, no! God help us! Looks around him and is terrified at the sight of all the women Ach! Now I’ve seen everything! A whole paddock of them! A whole herd of them! They’re all gathered around the gates. Stuttering with fear. And whaaaaat are you all doing here, then, hey?
He goes and picks up a lighted piece of wood and waves it about threateningly but he is still petrified.
Ha! Shitting yourself with fear, are you? (Indicating her friends) What, you mean this little lot? This is nothing. This is just a tiny number of us out here. You should see the rest of us!
Hey, Phadrias, are we going to let these old weather-beaten shags cackle like this for ever? Shouldn’t we break a rod across their back?
Girls, put your buckets down and get ready for them – and if they dare raise a hand!
Just a couple of slaps about the face would do it, I should think, Drakis. That should shut them up. The sort of slaps our famous sculptor, Voupalos, copped. Hahaha! Imitating Boof, boof!
Stratyllis: Steps between them
Oh yea? Well, here you are! Do it! Go on, do it!
Offers her face for the slapping.
Here’s my face. Just try it! Come on!
Phadrias approaches tentatively.
Phadrias withdraws frightened
You do boy, and you’ll get to know what it would feel like if some wild dogs took a liking to your balls… and ripped them right off and right out of your crotch! Go on, try!
Phadrias: Phadrias withdraws further
If you don’t shut up, you old hag, I’ll… I’ll… I’ll rip your guts out!
Oh, yeah? You just raise one finger against our Strato here and…
One finger? One finger! Oh, I am soooooo scared now! I’ll raise a full fist of them against the silly, old bitch!
I’ll tear your guts AND your lungs out – with my own teeth!
Strynidoros: Looking for support from his group
There’s no wiser man -or poet- than Euripides, hey men? And he was right, too, when he said, “There’s no creature so vulgar as a woman.”
Rhodippi, dear, pick up your jug again and get ready.
Yea, and… and… why did you… you… God-cursed creature, why did you bring all this water here, hey?
And you, you old bum-beater, why did you bring all this fire here, hey? To roast yourselves? Hahahaha!
No, to build a nice little pyre for you and your friends.
And we, we’ll quench this fire of yours with our water.
You! You’ll quench our fire? Hah!
With our water. You’ll see!
A battle starts between Stratyllis and Drakis. She tries to throw the water on the fire, he tries to burn her with a lighted branch. Other warring pairs are made here who will be seen as reconciled friends at the close of the play.
Drakis: Lunging at her crotch with the torch
I don’t think so. In fact I think I might… just apply a little bit of heat under there for you…
Oh, yea? She approaches him, finds out he smells badly and pinches her nose
Pooh! O, my goodness! Listen, you old piece of filth, if you happen to have a bit of soap with you, I might just do you the favour and give you a bath!
A bath? Me! Oh, you old piece of carcass!
Yea, it’ll be a real nuptial bath.
Ohhhh! What arrogance!
Because I’m an emancipated woman!
I’ll emancipate your throat for that!
Ha! No more shitty, stifling laws from your parliamentary bench, boy!
Burn her hair for that!
Flood the bastards! Do your stuff girls, drown them now!
The women chase the men about until they pour their water all over the men’s heads.
It’s not tooooo hot, for you, is it, deary?
Hot? What’s hot?
She throws a bit more water on him, this time directed at his phallus
Stop! What do you think you’re doing?
I’m… watering you.Pointing at his fallen phallus
See if I can get some new growth out of you!
I’m frrrrreezing, trrrrrembling!
Well, go sit by your fire then!
The women withdraw cautiously into their territory (SR). The magistrate, a paradigm of a pompous, corrupt politician, followed by a number -at least four- of Skythian archers enter from stage left. (Note: The archers are the common police force of Athens at the time.)
Well, then! Has all this womanish pandemonium finished yet? Have they all finished with their lunatic drum beating and their vulgar drunken orgies and their rooftop wailing over their poor little Adonis? All this stuff reminds of the day -may we never see that day again!- when Demostratus talked us into sailing against Sicily. Remember? His drunken wife began an orgy of lamentations about her little Adonis. Mocking her “Oh, my poor, poor, little Adonis, my poor little Adonis! Oh, my poor, poor, little Adonis.” She squealed and squealed interminably. Then Demostratus, the old piece of dung went on with “we need to enlist soldiers from Zakynthos!” and off she went again! She got up onto her roof this time and began screeching, “Cry, cry, ye all, for our poor, poor Adonis!” She screamed and carried on like this until the old ball-busting, wrath-straddled, God-cursed bastard, Demostratus, to spite her, pushed his vote through the Assembly! Such are the wild, undisciplined doings of women!
And if you only knew just how wild and undisciplined, they are, sir. The insults these women have subjected us to! Not only have they called us all sorts of disgusting names but then, to add injuries to their insults, they’ve tossed jugfuls of water all over us -soaked us through and through! We look like… we’ve pissed ourselves!
Because, by Salty Poseidon, we are so piss-weak ourselves! All this awful stuff, is our very own fault! Because we are the ones who spoil them rotten and corrupt their little brains. We sow this sort of thinking into their small skulls. Because, what do we husbands do? I’ll show you what we do: Here’s one husband going to the jeweler’s:
Mocks a piss-weak husband
“Hey mister jeweler. You know that bracelet you’ve made for my wife? You know how we went dancing the other night? Weeeeell, its little thingy broke and it slipped out of its little holey-poley while she was dancing last night and now the thingy is broken. I’m off to war now, so… could you be a nice little boy and go over to her tonight to fix it for her, to put the little thingy back into the little holey polley, please?”
Or another idiot will go over to the shoemaker who’s a huge, strong man with a prick to match and he says to him, mocking again “O, please, mister cobbler, my wife’s little tootsie wootsie is hurting a bit because the strap on her sandal is a little titsy bitsy, witsy, too tight. Could you please run over to her at midday and stretch it out a bit for her? Make it wiiiiiiiider for her, please?”
So, here we are now, suffering the consequences of this sort of piss-weak behaviour… I need to go in there now, to get some money to pay the city’s rowers. How am I going to do that if these bloody women have bolted all the gates, hey?
But I won’t stand for it! Bring me the crow bars, men! I’ll make them pay for this insolence! To one of his Skythian archers Hey, you! What are you gaping at, moron? Looking for a tavern, are you? Damn you! Come on men, let’s put our ramrods here, under the gates and ram them open! I’ll put my rod here with yours, too.
They start at this but Lysistrata enters through the gates of the acropolis. She’s followed by Caloniki, Myrrhini, the Skythian policewoman and other wives. They are carrying little baskets out of which they will eventually bring some ribbons, a wreath and a garland.
You won’t have to ram open any gates, boys! See? I’m here, of my own accord!
Looks about her at the men’s efforts
Why the rams, boys? We don’t need rams here, we just need a bit of brain. Much better than all the rams in the world. We should just use a bit of grey matter and nous, that’s all! This is Athena’s Temple. Athena, boys, the Goddess of wisdom!
Is that a fact, you… you over-defiled wench? He searches among the men.
Where’s my archer? Hey, you! Officer! Grab this whore and tie her hands behind her back –both of them!
Oh yea? Well, let me tell you, Mister Magistrate, sir! Officer or not, he who touches even my little pinky shall spill plenty of tears for it.
Skythian retreats cowardly.
What? Are you afraid man? Two of you then! Quickly, grab her by her waist. Seize her!
Two Skythians attempt this.
Caloniki: Steps forward threateningly. To the Magistrate.
Hey! If they as much as lay a finger on our Lysistrata, I’ll kick the shit out of you, trust me… sir! I’ll make you brown your pants!
Skythians retreat cowardly behind the other men
Magistrate: Disgusted at his officers again.
Me brown my pants? Me! You’ll be the one shitting yourself in a minute!
Looking for his officer again Damn it, where’s my officer? Finds one Here, you! Tie up this big mouth first!
The officer attempts this but he’s also stopped by Myrrhini
Go on then, touch our Caloniki if you dare, go on! One little fingertip, plop face and you’ll be calling for surgery.
Magistrate: Turns to Myrrhini
By the gods! And who’s this one then? Skythian, leave that one and grab this one first! I’ll put an end to this outrageous exodus!
Officer attempts this too but again he’s stopped by Stratyllis. She is charging forward with the rest of her women.
Stratyllis: To the Skythian
You touch our Myrrhini old man and I’ll rip all you hair out. Strand by miserable strand. That’ll make you squeal like the pig you are!
Skythian retreats behind friendly forces.
Damn my rotten luck! The cops have vanished! How on earth could we ever let a bunch of women beat us like this? Come on, my good Skythians! Let’s all march forward together in a group and rush them!
Hahahaha!I think you ought to know, mister Magistrate! There are four battalions of us women here. And we are all very, very well armed, very, very willing, very, very able and very, very ready! She lunges towards them
Quick, now! Officers, tie their hands up!
Lysistrata: To the audience
Women! Sisters! Come out here, all of you! All you sellers of seed, of pumpkin, of peas and beans; of garlic and wine, of hotel beds and flour and bread! All of you, darlings who’ve been pushed and smacked around, who’ve been insulted. Come out all of you!
All men rush to obey the magistrate and all women to assist Lysistrata. A noisy and chaotic melee ensues. The Skythians are soaked to the core. In the battle there’s a comical, non-verbal confusion and hints are made at another possible romance, that of the female Skythian and the male Skythian (the one insulted by the magistrate earlier.) Also, the magistrate confronts the female Skythian at one point and he’s outraged when he realises she is working on the side of the women. He mumbles, “more womanish treachery!” At the end, the Skythians and Drakis’ men suffer great losses and withdraw thoroughly shamed to their territory, at SL.
By the gods! Look at my poor Archers! They’ve all been thoroughly thrashed!
Of course they did! What did you think? That you were dealing with some little slave girls or women with no fortitude?
Fortitude? Oh, you’ve got that all right… You’ve got balls… when you’re drunk!
You’ve wasted enough words, here, Your Honour. What’s the point of exchanging civil words with wild beasts?
Yeah, can’t you see the washing they gave us -clothes and all, and no soap!
Stratyllis: To the Magistrate
You need to learn not to raise an angry hand against your neighbour, sir, because if you do, you’ll end up with a black eye.
Kallyki: Also to the Magistrate
And if I want to just sit on my bum and think all day long, like a demure little maid, hurting no-one and stirring no-one’s twig then that’s just what I’ll do!
Krytilli: Also to the Magistrate
And if you want to take the honey from my little honey pot, well then, Mister Magistrate, beware! You’ll be stirring my sting!
The Magistrate turns and gathers the men around him for a conference. The women do the same in their territory.
O, God! How do we deal with these beasts? I can’t take much more of this torture!
Let’s think this through… Whatever gave them the idea to climb this unclimable cliff, to this sacred and glorious ground? What made them want to come and take over the Acropolis?
Strynidoros: To the Magistrate
Ask her, Your Honour! Question her! And don’t trust her. Question everything she says and does.
It’d be shameful to let this go without a sound trial.
Breaks the huddle. Walks over to Lysistrata
You! First thing I wish to know from you is, what were your thoughts when you came to shut our Acropolis up with bars and rams?
So as to keep the money away from you. So that you can’t use it for your stupid war!
You think we need money for war?
Yeah, I think you need money for war! And not only for war but you’ve also screwed up everything else with it, as well! This war of yours has given crooked leaders like Peisandros – to use but one example- the opportunity to steal money, so as to feed their constantly rumbling guts!
So, my dear Magistrate, what we will do is this: we will let their guts go on rumbling. From now on they won’t be able to do what they want with that money. That money will not come down out of there just to shut up the rumbling of their guts, not ever again!
O yeah? And what will you do with it?
What do you mean, “what will we do with it?” We’ll keep it safe, that’s what we’ll do with it!
You? Keep it safe?
What’s so hard about that? We’ve kept the house purses safe for years!
House purses? House purses? That’s a totally different thing, you silly woman!
Why is that?
This is a war fund, you stupid woman! A war fund, get it?
And that’s exactly our first goal: No more war!
No war? No war? How on earth are we going to protect ourselves without war?
We’ll protect you! No need for war!
You lot? Huh!
Lysistrata: Swinging her bum lasciviously.
Yes, just little ol’ us! We, the women!
We’ll save you, Mister Magistrate, sir! Whether you like it or not!
Grrr. What a painful utterance!
What are you getting angry about? What needs to be done, must be done!
But… God! God… It’s so… so… bloody unfair!
But it’s the right, the proper thing to do!
What if I don’t want to?
All the more reason, to do it then!
What got you so concerned about war and peace all of a sudden?
What? Well, let me tell you…
Magistrate: Interrupts her by angrily raising his fists
Talk fast then, before your tears begin to roll.
All right. Listen then but keep your fists to yourself.
Magistrate: Looks at his hands which are still shaking with anger.
I can’t… it’s… too hard for me. You’ve got them all angry!
Stratyllis: Raises her own fist at him
Then it’s you who’ll be doing the crying!
Bah! Go croak those words to yourself, you old hag! (To Lysistrata)
You! Talk to me!
But of course! Now! Before the war, everything you men did, we suffered in silence and dignity because you wouldn’t let us make a sound. Not a peep.
God, we hated you for that! And then, all the time, we’d hear about all those dreadful decisions you’d be making about some very important issue or other. But, we’d put on a smile to hide the pain and we’d come to you with, “how did parliament go today, darling? Any laws posted on the law pillars about peace?” Well, my own husband would answer with, “Grrrr… what’s it to you?” and with “Grrrr… won’t you ever shut up, woman?” So, I’d shut up.
Me? I’d never shut up!
You! By God, I’d have given you something to squawk about, you old crow!
And that’s exactly why I did shut up! But then, other stupid decisions of yours would come up and again we’d ask, “husband, how could you do such stupid things?” And the dear hubby would take one frowny look at me and tell me to go back to my weaving or he’d give me something to really scream my head about. Then he’d say what Hektor said to his wife, Adromache, “war is men’s business!” The fool’s been reading too much Homer!
And he’d be right, too!
But how so, you God-spewed fool? We had to accept your policies even when they were totally ill-judged. All right. We did that for a while but then we began hearing your pitiful crying in the street, mocking the men crying in the street “We need men! Where are the men? Oh me, oh my! There isn’t a man left in our country, not even a one!” So, we women thought we should get together and try to save Greece. Enough waiting for you lot of foolish men to do it. We, women, can wait no longer. And if you want to take your turn at shutting up and listening to our good advice, we’ll straighten everything out for you!
Magistrate: Fuming with anger
You? You’ll straighten everything out for us? The dreadful things you say, woman!
I won’t stand for that! Grrrr!
I thought I said, shut up!
Damned woman! Me shut up, for you? To a woman… a woman wearing a scarf over her head? Never!
Lysistrata: Removes scarf and places it over the Magistrate’s head.
Oh, is this what’s bothering you? Well, here you are! It’s off my head and onto yours, now! Now you can shut up!
Stratyllis: Walks over and hangs a basket over his limp elbow. The Magistrate now looks comically like a woman.
And you can have this little basket, too!
Your sewing is in there. And some beans to chew on while you’re working on it.
From now on, sewing for you, war for us!
Stratyllis: To the rest of the old women
Put your jugs down, women, so that we can give our friends here, a hand.
It’s our turn now.
Great! I never tire doing the sacred dance and my good knees don’t buckle with the
Me, too. I want to be just like them in everything. Same nature, same charm, same bravery, same wisdom, just as patriotic, as virtuous and as proud!
So, come all you grannies and nannies of the bravest, prickliest of all the nettles! Let loose your anger but don’t slacken the force of your charge. The wind is right behind us, women! Let’s go!
And so long as sweet-tempered Eros and Aphrodite are still bulging our breasts and tightening our bums with their lusty breath and so long as they make our men’s pricks stand like policemen’s truncheons, I’m sure that soon, the whole of Greece will be calling us “Battle Blockers!”
Is that right? So… what will you do?
If we first stop the mindless display of arms and lunacy in the market place…
That’s right, by Aphrodite!
Stupid bastards, they’re everywhere! Armed to the teeth and pacing up and down between the cabbage stalls and the pottery shops, like frenzied lunatics! Idiots!
But of course, woman, that’s the way of heroes!
But doesn’t it look just a little queer to you? I mean, men carrying a huge shield with the drawing of a fearsome gorgon painted all over it… looking to buy sardines?
Ha! That’s so damned true! I saw a guard the other day. Long haired fool, on a horse, stuffing his shiny bronze helmet full with peas which he’d bought from an old woman’s stall. And another one, a Thracian, jerking and shaking his spear and shield about, frightening some poor old woman out of her wits, pinching all the ripe figs from her stall and stuffing himself with them, just like a real barbarian.
Everyone else, including the Magistrate’s men, burst into loud chuckles and laughter
All right, all right! So, how will you… women, be able to put an end to all this terrible turbulence amongst all the nations? How would you undo it all?
With great ease!
Oh, yes? Is that right? Well? How? Come on, show me!
We shall undo all this turbulence just like we undo the knots in a ball of wool.We simply pick up the spindles and we pull one thread this way, another that way, another this way, another… Simple! That’s how we’ll get rid of all the knots. We’ll send out some embassies here, some embassies there…
Fools! You think you can stop such great problems with spindles and wool?
But of course! And if you, too, had the intelligence to undo knots in balls of wool, you’d be able to undo knots in the State, as well!
Knots in wool? Knots in wool? What on earth are you talking about, woman? Show me!
Lysistrata now turns and speaks directly at the audience as if she’s giving them a lecture, as if she’s holding them responsible for much of Athens’ predicament.
You simply wash the city just like you wash wool.
First, you put the wool into the tub and get rid of all the daggy bits, all the crap around its bum. Then you put it on a bed, take a rod and scrutch and bonk all the burrs and spikes out it. All those burrs and spikes that have gathered themselves into tight knots and balls and are tearing and tangling the wool of State, well, you just tease them out of there. Rip their heads off! Then, off for the combing. You put all the wool together into one basket. All of it! Friends, foreign or local, allies -anyone who’s good for the State. Drop them all in there. As well as our citizens from the colonies. Consider them, too, as part of the same ball of wool, only separated from each other. So, what with all those colonies joining the ball, you’ll be able to weave a cloak big enough for the whole city.
How bloody frightening! All this spindle spinning and rod rodding that these women want to do! What do they know about the suffering that goes with war? About bearing the burden of war?
None? None! You warped wanker! We suffer twice as much as you.
Firstly, we give birth to these men which you promptly send off to war…
Magistrate: Interrupts her
Oh, shut up you stupid woman! Let’s forget all this stuff!
Lysistrata: Ignoring the interruption
…and secondly, we women, have every right to be enjoying the prime of our life – which is now! But because of all these campaigns of yours, we all go to bed alone these days. And it’s not only us who are suffering but our daughters, too, whose prime is passing them by even faster. They’re in there, in their rooms, totally alone.
And don’t men get old, too?
You think it’s the same? When a man comes back from his battle, even if he’s old and grey, he can still find a fuck, whereas a woman’s prime races by and if no one grabs it, she’ll never get a fuck! So, the poor thing just sits there, in her room, all alone, reading marriage omens!
Well, yes, if a man can still get it up…
Lysistrata: This time she interrupts him angrily.
War suffering! Bah! You obviously know nothing about real suffering, so… so why don’t you just drop dead, hey?
She looks about her.
Here you are! Here’s a perfect spot for you! I’ll get you a coffin and bake you the burial cake… and here! Takes out a garland from a basket and throws it around his neck.
Crown yourself with this.
The rest of the women gather around him and with hilarity and derision, dress him up as a corpse.
Hang on a minute! Takes out a ribbon from the basket and wraps it around him
And take this from me, too.
Kallyki: Takes out a wreath and puts it on his head
And this from me.
Need anything else? No? Well? Hop on the boat, then, Mister Magistrate, sir!
Puts her hand to her ear
Hear that? It’s Charon calling you. Next stop the Underworld! Go on! Hop it! What’s holding you back? Cark it, you old kook!
My God, the things I have to endure! Right! That’s it! I’m off to show my brother magistrates what these women have done to me! I’ll go exactly as I am! Just like this!
Magistrate and Skythians exit, stage left.
The women burst into laughter.
Lysistrata: Shouting after him
Don’t complain that we didn’t give you a good funeral… and we’ll give you your the proper three-day memorial the day after tomorrow, if you want!
Satisfied and with laughter, Lysistrata, Caloniki, Myrrhini and the Skythian woman archer leave the stage through the gates of the acropolis.
Drakis: Moves with his men towards the centre of the battle. He is totally bemused for a few seconds as the scene changes. Then, agitated and determined, he stares his enemy in the face and:
Right! Right! All right then! All right! Time for all free men to stand up and get ready for action. Right! Takes off his cloak, ready for action.
Right! Let’s strip, men and let’s just examine this huge issue.
His limp phallus becomes even more conspicuous now that he’s taken off his cloak
His men follow suit
Phadrias: Suddenly hit by the smell which resulted from their last action
Buh! I can smell something very foul around here. Becoming serious
In fact, I can smell Hippias’ rule of tyranny behind all this. I can smell Hippias’ type of dilemma: horsey woman on top! I’m… I’m petrified! I have an awful hunch that some Spartan men might have gathered all their women together and tugged them all off to the house of that womaniser, Cleisthenes, who, in turn, got them all to stir up our own women here to seize our funds – and my wages, my daily bread!
It’s grotesque how these women are running around alarming our citizens with ejaculations about bronze shields and about making peace with Spartans… Spartans!
They’re about as trustworthy as wolves with gaping and salivatingmouths!
Mates, these things, these things are all threads these bastards are weaving to get a cloth of tyranny together over us. Ah, but, no! We won’t bow to tyranny! “I’ll stand aloof,” as the song goes: Sings saucily “Oh, I’ll bury my sword in the myrtle bush, the myrtle bush, the myrtle bush…” and I’ll stand -fully armed- behind the statue of our favourite tyrant killer, Aristogeiton, in the market place. I’ll stand there just like he did: at the ready for the ambush and… and… Pointing at Stratyllis …when this God-hated woman turns up, I’ll smack her in that big gob of hers!
Oh, yeah? You just try and your own mother won’t be able to recognise you when you get home -if you get home!
To the women My darling oldies… takes a hold of her jacket, rips it off and throws it to the ground first, let’s throw these to the ground!
Athenians! Let us begin our good work by giving our city some useful words. And it’s good and proper that we should give her some good advice because she raised us in absolute luxury. I, for example, when I was but seven years old, I was made a temple attendant. Then, when I turned ten, I was given the duty of grinding the sacred barley at Artemis’ temple and was also one of the participants at the festival, one of the little bears, as we call them. I used to have to take off my saffron robe and dance naked in the procession. Later on, of course, when I became a beautiful young woman, I used to carry the string of sacred dried figs at Athena’s procession. That’s the greatest honour that can be bestowed upon an Athenian girl!
And that’s why I owe it to our city to give something useful back to it, in return. To the men Don’t hold it against me for being born a woman or for knowing how to fix these awful problems we are facing at the moment. My contribution to the common cause will be real men! Because you lot, you old codgers and tax dodgers, you’ve contributed nothing. All you did was to waste what your grandfathers put there. All that wealth they had brought back from their victory in the Persian wars. You’ve wasted all that up and you’re sending us headlong into bankruptcy!
Drakis moves towards her angrily but she takes out her shoe and waves it angrily at him.
And any more grief from you, old man and I’ll smash your jaw with my shoe!
My God! Is this arrogance not unbearable? Right! Right! All right then! Fine! I call on… I call on all men with pricks and balls! We must all raise against this outrage right now before it gets many worse!
All the men look at their limp members for a moment. Their histrionics display their dismay.
Shirts off, men, so that they can see the powerful man and the powerful smell his smell all at once. It’s not right to turn our men’s bodies into stuffed vine leaves!
They all take off their shirts with rumblings of “that’s right,” “too bloody right” “we’ll show them what we’re made of”
Right! Arise, all you men who wear the bright medals of the bright winners of the bright battles a hundred years old – and more! You, brave men who wear the white sandals! Ah, we sure were something back then, weren’t we, mates? Let’s now rise again, men! Let’s rid ourselves of this old age and let’s give our bodies new wings!
Don’t let any of you men give these women the slightest grip on anything, because nothing escapes their greasy hands. They’ll be building ships and taking off for sea battles next – sailing against us, like that traitor, Artemisia, when we were fighting the Persians. And if they set their minds to take on horse riding, then we can forget about our cavalry! Because when it comes to riding, these women know it all! Even at the gallop you can’t get them to fall off! Just look at those paintings of Mikon, for example, with all those Amazons!
These are not women, they are fighting men! So, our duty men, is clearly this: It is to grab them by their neck and place that neck of theirs firmly in the public pillory! With a sudden move he lunges towards Rhodippi whom she catches for a second but she escapes him
My God! Any more of this sort of heat from you, boy and… we’ll set loose our lust on you! I’ll make you rush off to your little boy friends crying and whimpering like little shagged sheep. Behhhhehe!
Right girls! We women have our own smells, too. Let them get a whiff of it girls! Take off your shirts and… rushes at the men… chaaaaaarge!
Kallyki: Daring the men
Come on then, one of you try and hit me, come on! Huh! You’ll never be able to chew garlic again, nor black beans, if you did.
To Philourgos who begins to charge towards her
One bad word from you, old kook and I’ll rip your testicles off… just like the little beetle did to the eagle’s eggs in Aesop’s little story. Chirp, chirp ouch, ouch!
Huh! And me? I’m not worried about you men. Not while my Lampito and that noble girl from Thebes, Ismenia, are still alive. To Drakis You? You lot are totally useless! Seven rounds of legislating and still nothing! That’s how much everyone in this city hates you!
Just yesterday I had a party for all of us women, in honour of Hekate so I invited one of the neighbours, a stunning little whore, beautiful, like a Boetian eel, no less, but no, she wasn’t allowed to come, thanks to your stupid laws. It seems you’ll never stop all this stupid, aggravating, masturbating, legislating, until someone… lunges at Drakis’ phallus …grabs you by your groin’s dangler, tosses you about and… rips your bum apart!
The men retreat panic stricken. Under subtle light changes they retreat to their territory and, ashamed, take away all the wood and implements they’ve brought in with their first entrance. These implements will not be used again for the duration of the play. The men stay at their territory for the duration of the next scene. A small pause before Lysistrata enters through the gates. She looks distressed.
Stratyllis: To Lysistrata, expansively
Ah, leader of this enterprise… leader of this grand scheme! Why have you come down from your lofty chambers? And why do you look so deeply worried, woman?
The behaviour of bad women and their sex-clogged brains, Stratyllis! That’s why I lose heart! I’ve been spending all day long pacing nervously up and down!
Why, Lysistrata? What’s up?
It’s true, girls, we have sex-clogged brains!
Well? Tell your friends, then! What’s the matter, darling?.
Lysistrata: Sighing deeply
Ah! It’s too shameful to tell and it’s too heavy to carry around in your chest.
Well, don’t hide it, from us, then Lysistrata. Give us the full damage report.
To put it in just four words, girls, “we need a fuck!”
Oh, my Goddddd!
God? God? What are you calling him for? What’s he got to do with it! It’s the way things are with us. I just can’t keep these women off their husbands’ pricks! They’re constantly running off. One of them I caught scratching a hole on the wall that leads to Pan’s cave -you know, where Apollo did all his raping; another was trying to escape by hurling herself down some lever-and- pulley thing, and another – this one decided to climb up onto a bird yesterday, no doubt hoping to fly over to that womaniser’s house, Orsilochus, but I tore that one down by her hair. So far, they’ve used every possible excuse to go home.
Caloniki rushes out of the Acropolis, looking frantic.
Here’s one of them now. Hey you! Where are you running off to?
Um… ummm… I really need to go home, Lysistrata. I need to check my Milesian wool. I think the moths might be eating it.
What damned moths? Get back inside, girl!
I’ll be right back, I swear by the Gods, Lysistrata! Just let me go and spread my wool on the bed, Lysistrata. It won’t take long!
You’ll go nowhere and spread nothing, anywhere!
So will I let my wool just die, then?
If that’s what will happen, then yes!
Myrrhini rushes out similarly.
Oh, what a stupid fool I am! Stupid, stupid, stupid fool! Hahahaha! I forgot my lovely flax totally unscutched at home!
Here’s another! Out to get her “flax scutched!” Back inside, you!
Oh but I swear Lysistrata, by the moon even, please! Do let me just go and bonk it a little. I’ll be right back!
No, no bonking! Because – because, you stupid girl, if you do it then every other woman in there will want to do it as well!
Ismenia, the Boetian wife, rushes out similarly. This one looks pregnant.
Dear God, dear God, deary, deary deary me, o, my God! Oh dear God! Oh, divine protector of births! I beg you, hold back this delivery till I get out of this sacred soil!
What are you warbling on about, woman?
I’m about to give birth, Lysistrata!
Birth? But you weren’t pregnant yesterday.
Today I am, though. Please, Lysistrata, send me home to the midwife, send me off as quickly as possible!
So you’re pregnant hey? She feels the bulge And what’s this you got here, hey? It’s soooo hard!
Yeah, it’s a boy!
Let’s see then… My god! Taps at the bulge Sounds like there’s something bronzey under there… And it sounds like it’s hollow inside. Let’s see this baby of yours. Lifts up Ismenia’s skirt and discloses the article Ah, ha! The sacred helmet of Athena! You’re not pregnant after all, are you my stupid girl?
But I am pregnant, Lysistrata, I know I am! I swear I am!
And this helmet is for?
…in case I was overtaken by the labour pains while I was in the Acropolis. I’d give birth in this helmet… like the pigeons… so that the birth wouldn’t touch the sacred ground, you understand, Lysistrata, don’t you?… I’m trying not to defile the sacred ground of Acropolis with my birthing… thing!
My God! What excuses! Yes, all right. I understand, now… the birth will pollute the holy ground… No! You’re not going anywhere, my girl! You’ll just have to stay here for the baby’s – I mean the helmet’s- naming party!
But Lysistrata, since I saw the sacred snake, roaming about the temple I can’t even sleep here.
Corinthian whore rushes out feigning similar distress
I’m going nuts with these owls! All damned night long! Woooooo, wooooooo,
Enough! Fools! Enough exaggerations! All right! Perhaps you do miss the pricks. All right! But don’t you think they miss you too? They are going through some very stiff nights themselves, out there!
Believe me! Control yourselves, darlings and persevere for just a little longer, because… because there’s an oracle about us and it predicts a victory for us -that’s if we don’t split asunder and begin fighting each other! Takes a scroll out of the folds of her dress Here it is!
Tell us what it says!
“… but when the swallows repel the pricks of the heath cocks and flee from them and gather together in one spot, all their worries will be gone – and as for the rest, All-Cracking Zeus will turn the uppers into lowers and vice-versa.”
You mean we’ll be doing the riding from now on? Horsey on top?
Lysistrata: continues reading
“…but! If the swallows should split asunder and raise their wings to fly from the holy temple, then the world will be saying that there’s no bird alive, none more lecherous than us, I mean the swallow!”
Now that’s one oracle that’s pretty clear in meaning! Very unusual!
So, let’s not weaken when things go tough on us, girls. Let’s go inside.
It would be a sacrilege, my dear friends, if we betray the oracle.
Lysistrata and wives exit into the acropolis. All women except Stratyllis and Kallyki move to their territory.
Dusk then Dawn.
Philourgos moves towards Kallyki and Drakis towards Stratyllis. This is a short farce, the purpose of which is to create a battleground upon which, slowly, the seeds of romance are sown for these two couples.
Drakis: To Stratyllis
I want to tell you something. I want to tell you a story now. One which I heard when I was a young boy, and it’s about a man called Melanion. Melanion wanted to escape marriage so he ran off first to the desert and then to the mountains and there, with the help of his dog and his nets, he hunted rabbits; and Melanion, because of this hatred for women, he never came back home. We, men, the wiser among us, we hate them no less than Melanion did.
Philourgos: To Kallyki
I want to pucker up my lips and kiss you, you old chook!
Not with that onion stench in your mouth.
Philourgos: Cocks his leg up
Well, then, I’ll raise my leg up to root you.
Woah! Rather thick foliage you have down there, haven’t you?
Sign of real men. Just like Myronithes and Phormio -our great heroes! Their enemies certainly knew just how hairy their bums were!
Stratyllis:: To Drakis
I, too want to tell you a story, one to match yours. Once upon a time, there was a man called Timon. Timon had no home and he had no good looks either. His face, in fact, looked as if some thorns had given it a good work-over; looked like he was spawned by the Furies, when you think about it, really!
So poor Timon, who was also moved by the same sort of hatred. He went off to the desert as well, spitting curses to all the men, because they’re all wicked! Now THAT’S our hero! And, like Timon, we, too, hate men, for they’re all wicked! And we’ll hate them for ever and ever and ever. As for Timon, every woman loved that boy.
Kallyki: To Philourgos
Want a slap in the face?
Philourgos: To Kallyki
Oh, no, not a slap on my face! You’re terrifying me to death! I’m soooooo scared!
What about if I kicked your legs and smashed them to little bits?
You’d be lifting your leg too high and showing your foliage, if you tried that.
Ha! You won’t be seeing much down there. We older ladies like to exfoliate. I’ve shaved off all of mine last night, by the light of the oil lamp.
Dusk, then Dawn.
Lysistrata appears at the parapet of the acropolis. she’s guarding the place. Suddenly she sees something, deep in the distance (stage left) which, both, shocks and amuses her.
Wooooah! Good God! Women, come over here quickly, come!
What is it, Lysistrata? Why are you shouting?
A man, darling, a man! I see a man… coming! Literally! Coming! Look, there! See? He’s coming! Hahaha! He must be totally in the grips of Aphrodite’s work, that poor man! Oh, Aphrodite! Goddess of Cyprus and Cythera and Pathos! May the path this man has chosen be the right one!
Where, where? Where is this man?
There, look, by the Temple of Chloe. There!
Oh, yeah! My God! Who is this man?
Take a good look everyone. Anyone know him?
Loud exclamations from all the women.
Oh my God! I do! He’s my husband! Cinesias! My ‘mover and shaker’, ‘shaggy’ for
short. My husband! Ohhhhh!
In that case, Myrrhini, the job is yours! Hahahaha! Now this is what you do, my lovely girl: You roast him, you toss him and you turn him and you shake him all about -in short, darling, you trick mhim! Over and over again. You first give him lots of loving and then you take it all back. Submit to his every passion except the bit which only you and the oath-cup know about.
Myrrhini: (Feeling sorry for her husband)
(But becomes determined after seeing Lysistrata’s angry looks)
All right! Have no fear, Lysistrata. I’ll do everything you said!
Good! I’ll just stay here to help you with all the lovely trickery and all the preliminary heating up. To the other wives The rest of you, girls, go! Leave! Myrrhini, you go down and wait for me for a minute.
Everyone except Lysistrata leaves. Cinesias and his slave, Manes, enter, SL. Manes is holding Cinesias’ baby. Cinesias is burdened with an agonising, throbbing erection.
Oh, rotten, rotten, rotten and cursed luck! These jerks and spasms are killing me! It feels soooo stretched… It’s like I’ve just come down from the torture wheel! Talk about blue balls! Ohhhhhh! Ahhhhhh! Such pain! Ouch! Ouch!
Who’s there? Who’s trying to… penetrate our fort?
You can say that again! A man, oh yes! A real man!
Then piss off, out of here!
What? Who are you to tell me to piss off?
I’m the Day Guard.
Then, for God’s sake, Day Guard, call Myrrhini for me!
Me? Call Myrrhini for you? Why should I? Who are you?
I am her husband. Cinesias of the clan of Bonk!
Cinesias! Of the clan of Bonk! Ah, well, well, well! Well then! Greetings, sweetheart!
Your name is quite famous around here. You’re certainly not an anonymous man amongst us. Your dear wife has your name on her lips all day long. She can eat neither apple nor egg without first saying, “here’s to my little Shaggy!”
Oh my God! Truly? Is that true?
I swear by Aphrodite! And whenever our chats fall on men, your darling wife always says, “compared to my Shaggy, all the other men are… puny, little fiddly dick sticks!”
Cinesias: Phallus spasms
Oh my God, oh my God, Oh my God! So… so go and call her then! Right now!
Lysistrata: Shows surprise at his impatience
All right, but… purposeful delay what do I get in return of my favour?
Cinesias: Looking down at his erection
I… I can certainly give you this, if you want! Lysistrata shakes her head.
Or this! Throws her a purse Take it! I’ve got nothing else on me.
I’ll take this. I’ll go and call Myrrhini for you.
Hurry! To the audience
God, since the day she left the house, my life became a total misery. Not the slightest bit of joy! I walk through the door and the place straight away looks totally deserted. Even the food is tasteless. That’s how horny I am!
I love that man! I just love him. I love him sooooo much, I’m crazy about him but he doesn’t return my love. Please, oh, please, Lysistrata don’t send me out there to him!
After a ‘pregnant pause’ Myrrhini appears coyly at the parapet.
Oh my sweet, sweet, sweet Myrrhinaki! What are you doing up there, darling? Please come down here!
Oh, God no! I’m not coming out there!
Myrrhini! I’m calling you and you’re not coming? Are you disobeying me?
You’re calling me but you don’t really need me!
Don’t need you? (Indicating his jolting phallus) Can’t you see this? I’m absolutely burning for you!
Nope, I’m off! Disappears from the parapet
Oh no, don’t! Myrrhini, listen! Listen to your baby, will you? (Goes to the baby and shakes and shouts at it) Call your mummy, won’t you?
Mummy, mummy, muuuuuuuuumy!
Myrrhini appears again.
Hey, what’s wrong with you, Myrrhini? Listen! This is his sixth day without a wash or a feed. Don’t you feel sorry for him?
Yes, I do, but the negligence is his father’s! Disappears again
Come down here, you silly girl. For your baby’s sake!
Myrrhini: Appears again, looks down at Cinesias, thinks about it for a protracted moment.
Oh, very well! To the audience Motherhood! I just have to come down! Anyway, what possible harm can there be in that?
Myrrhini disappears from the parapet, so as to come out through the gate.
Cinesias: To the audience
She looks a bit younger to me. And that look she gave me! Mmmmmm! Much sweeter, gentler; and all this… hard-to-get stuff and the oh-I’m-so-proud stuff! Mmmmmm! All this rubs at my passion all the more! Ahhhhh!
Myrrhini comes out through the gate tentatively, coyly, and goes to her baby.
O, sweet, sweet darling baby! You’ve got such a nasty man for a father, haven’t you?
Give him to me Takes the baby Oooooh! Let me kiss mummy’s little sugar bun… Mmmmm!
Stupid girl, why on earth did you listen to these women in there? You’re giving me so much agony… and giving yourself so much grief too! He goes to touch her
Don’t touch me!
Cinesias: Frightened by the blatant and icy rejection
Our whole house is in a mess, Myrrhini. Everything, your stuff, my stuff, everything’s in a mess!
Don’t care about that stuff!
What? You don’t care if the chooks are running around, wearing your frillies?
Na! Not me!
So… you won’t be returning home then? He points at his shuddering erection And… and… and you’ve left Aphrodite’s shrine unattended for such a long time! How long has it been since you performed her rites?
I don’t know and I don’t care, and no! No, I won’t be coming back -not until all you men get together and agree to end the war.
Done! Not a problem! If that’s your wish, Myrrhinaki, we’ll do it! Consider it done!
Good! All right then! If that’s your wish, I’ll be coming home. Done! But for now, until you sign that treaty, I am sworn to remain here.
Cinesias: Almost in tears
But Myrrhini! It’s been such a loooong time… let’s fuck!
Myrrhini: Begins the cock “roasting and turning”
We caaaan’t, sweetheaaaaart… Which, of course, doesn’t mean that I don’t loooove you any more!
You do love me? Then come on, sweetie, lie down! Just lie down! Come on, lie down!
Don’t be ridiculous! In front of the baby?
Oh, but of course! Stupid me! Violently rips the baby from her hand and throws it to Manes who catches it precariously Manes, take him home!
Manes and the baby exit.
Right! Your child is no longer a consideration! You can lie down now!
And where do you suggest we could do it, you silly boy?
Cinesias: Looks all around frustrated
Where? Where? At Pan’s cave. That’d be good!
All right… ah, but then, after we do it, how could I return to the Acropolis? I won’t be clean any more. I’ll need purification.
Oh, that’s easy, darling! The spring is right there. The spring of Clepsyda. Take a splash in there.
Darling, are you asking me to betray my vow?
The vow? Bah! Don’t let it bother you one little bit, sweetheart. I’ll take full responsibility. Let it all fall upon my head.
All right then. Let me bring out a mattress first.
Do nothing of the sort. The ground is good enough for me.
Oh, my God, no! I can’t let you do that, you poor man!
She walks off into the acropolis shutting the gates behind her. She’ll do this a number of times and each time, the sound of the gate closing becomes progressively more and more ominous – louder and signifying the possible permanency of its closure but not, of course, the closure of Cinesias’ dilemma. As well, with every entry into the acropolis, Myrrhini takes just a little longer before she comes back outside, so as to make the cock-roasting more effective.
Cinesias: To the audience. After the sound of the gate slamming behind Myrrhini, the tone of his voice belies the message of his words.
I can see she really loves me… a lot…
Myrrhini comes back with a mattress.
There you are! Got it! She spreads the mattress on the ground.
You lie down darling and I’ll quickly strip off.
Cinesias is about to lie down.
Oh, no! How awful! No sheet! I must go and get a sheet!
Sheet? What sheet? Oh, nononononono! No, no, no! No sheet for me!
Yes, darling, sheets! It’s so vulgar and uncomfortable to do it on the bare cords of the mattress!
Well… give me a kiss then!
Oh, do be quick then, sweetheart! Get the sheet, hurry!
Myrrhini goes off again. Cinesias is pacing up and down with roasting temper until she returns.
Here’s the sheet. Now, let’s see… She spreads the sheet onto the mattress but she is being excruciatingly meticulous and slow with it. Finally, after she finishes…
You lie down, darling and I’ll undress. Cinesias attempts to lie down but he’s again stopped by Myrrhini’s new discovery. Oh no! Not again! You’ve no pillow, sweetheart!
Pillow? Pillow? I certainly don’t need a pillow, darling!
Yes, but I do!
Myrrhini goes off again
Cinesias: To the audience and pointing at his jolting prick
My God, this prick! It’s worse than starving Hercules, waiting for his lunch.
He lies down waiting, with his phallus pointing at the sky. Myrrhini enters with a pillow.
Up you hop, dear! She puts the pillow under his head then looks around Now, have I got everything?
Absolutely everything. Now come down here, my little golden girl!
Coming, darling. I’m just going to undo these little titty straps and then… but you won’t forget the Peace treaty, now, will you? Don’t you cheat me on that!
May God strike me dead if I do, dear!
Myrrhini: Another discovery
Ah, but look! You don’t have a blanket, darling!
I don’t want a blanket! I want a fuck! A fuck! A fuuuuck!
Myrrhini: Remains cool
Of course you do, darling, and that’s just what you’ll get… in a minute. I’ll be right back!
Myrrhini runs off again.
That person will kill me with all this bedding stuff!
Myrrhini returns with blanket and throws it over Cinesias’ reclined body, his phallus thoroughly vertical.
This is to help you raise your self, Shaggy!
Raise myself? Help me to raise myself? Darling, I’ve been raised and roused for a long time. I am well and truly raised and roused!
Pretends to get back to her straps but remembers.
Ah! Aromatherapy! That’s what we need. Some aromatics, Shaggy?
No, no, no! God, no! Oh, no! No aromas, please, Myrrhinaki!
Yes, yes, yes! You must! By Aphrodite, you’ll get the beautiful aromas whether you like it or not!
Myrrhini runs off again
Cinesias: Resigned to the fact
Ah, well, let the oils flow, then, oh, Lord, let them flow!
Myrrhini returns with a flask.
Give me your hand, please, Shaggy. He does so and she pours some oil onto it. Now, rub it all over you, darling.
Cinesias: Smells it
Pooh! Not the nicest of aromas this one, is it, darling? Not exactly an aphrodisiac. Pooh! I don’t like this one at all!
Myrrhini: Examines the flask
Oh, silly me, silly me! How could I? I’ve brought you the wrong one.
This is the cheap one from Rhodes. Hold on, sweetheart, I’ll get –
No, no, it’s all right. He grips her hand It’s good, really, it’s all right! She struggles Grrrrr! She escapes his grip and runs towards the gates Forget all this, bitch!
Myrrhini: Feigns shock at his outburst
Darling! You’re blubbering!
Myrrhini runs off again.
I’ll kill the bastard who brewed the first scent!
Myrrhini returns with another flask.
Now, take this alabaster.
But I’ve still got the other one on! Darling, just lie down now and forget all the scents.
Right, Shaggy, darling. I’ll do just that… I’m getting my shoes off right now… and you really won’t forget about voting for the Peace Treaty, now, will you?
She moves erotically around him and then gently blind-folds him with her scarf. This excites Cinesias but also gives Myrrhini the opportunity to quietly sneak off through the gate.
I’ll… think about it. Definitely… The gate now slams loudly, fatally, shut. He turns, takes off the blindfold. Oh, my God, she’s gone! Ach! That woman has destroyed me! She has rubbed me up and she has rubbed me down and then she went off, leaving me totally excoriated… Shouts and shakes his finger in her direction
I DID NOT HAVE A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THAT WOMAN!
Oh, what am I going to do? I need someone to screw! I’ve been diddled by the most beautiful woman of them all.
Looking at his excoriated member
How will I ever feed this little hungry orphan now? Searching the audience Is there a whore keeper in the house? Hey, Fox Doggy! Are you out there? Rent me a titty or two, will you please, mate?
Drakis’ men come forward to join Cinesias
Drakis: Pointing to Cinesias’ “problem”
Oh, oh, how awwwwful! You poor, poor boy. This sort of cheating rubs one’s soul away!
My sympathies to you! Oh, what kidney could ever hope to cope with such a terrible suffering, what soul, what balls, what loins or bum -stretched out like that and missing out on a sunrise fuck?
Cinesias: Spasms of his phallus
Oh, my God! Oh, no! Here come the awful cursed, cursed jerks and jolts again! Noooooh!
Phadrias: Waits for the spasms to end and then examines the dilemma closely, with covert sexual interest
So… And that’s what she’s done to you, hey? That totally hateful woman!
Ah, but she’s such a lovable, sweet, sweet woman!
Sweet? Sweet, you say?
Cinesias: Thinks for a moment, then looks at his painful phallus
No, you’re right! Bahhh! She’s foul!
Prays to Zeus
Oh, Zeus! Treat that woman like you treat a bundle of straws. Visit her with your typhoons and your tornadoes and your thunderbolts and whiz her all about and spin her all about, and send her high up into the sky, and then… and then suddenly drop her all the way down… splat! Make her wrap herself around this prick!
Enter Spartan herald, stage right. He has an identical problem with that of Cinesias but he’s got it hidden beneath his cloak. Phadrias’ eyes light up at the sight of the bulge of the herald’s right shoulder and at the testicles hanging heavily under his tunic. Phadrias approachesthe herald for another close inspection.
Spartan Herald: Uncomfortably
Where’s the Athenian Senate or the State House? I have news for them.
Cinesias: Points at the bulge under his cloak and laughs
Ho, ho! And what on Earth are you? Are you a human or a Horn God?
I’m a herald. I’ve been sent from Sparta about the Peace talks.
Cinesias: Pointing at the Herald’s dilemma
And that? Is that a spear you’re hiding under your arm?
Spartan Herald: Twists and turns so as to avoid the inevitable discovery
Oh, no, no, no, it’s not! I swear to God!
Stay still, then. Why are you turning away from me? What’s that sticking out from under your tunic? Blue balls, is it? From the long march?
Ha! What a crazy man this one is! By Castor, he’s nuts!
Sly little bastard. You’re carrying a stiffy!
No, I’m not! Not me! Don’t be so stupid! What a crazy man he is!
So, what’s this then?
That’s a… that’s a… Spartan message rod.
Hah! If that’s a Spartan message rod then so is this (Indicates his own jerking and shuddering phallus) Don’t worry friend, I know what’s up. You can tell me the truth. How are things with you men in Sparta?
Spartan Herald: Moral relaxation ensues after the disclosure but he is still visibly, very uncomfortable… physically.
All of us, Spartans, as well as our allies, we all have stiffies like this one. We all need a fuck!
Hmmm. And who do you think is to blame for this suffering, Pan?
Nah, I don’t think it’s Pan at all. I think it was that Lampito who started it all. Then all the other women in town got together with her and they are keeping us out of their little meadows, with chook wire, like wolves out of the chook pen
So, how are you coping with all this then?
We’re all solid stiff! We’re all wondering around the city bent-over like lantern carriers. And the women just won’t let us get anywhere near their myrtle bush. Not until we men get together and make peace with the rest of Greece.
Yes, this is a conspiracy of all the women everywhere. Now, I understand Myrrhini’s little tricks. In that case, get back to Sparta, my friend. Get back there as quickly as you can and tell them to send their representatives here with the full power to speak for you all. I’ll go to our own Council, here, and select our own negotiators… and I’ll point out to them the plight of this here prick!
I’ll be off right away. What you say is absolutely great.
Exit herald SR and Cinesias, SL.
The atmosphere is now softer, more sedate, more conducive to the birth and blossom of a romance… or at least of reconciliation! Stratyllis and her women approach Drakis and his group at centre stage.
There’s no beast nor leopard -there is no fire more difficult to fight than a woman… Or more ruthless!
You know this but you still fight us! Isn’t it just possible, you silly, silly man, that I could become your faithful, trusty and true friend?
I’ll never stop hating women!
All right then, as you wish. But for now, here! Picks up his shirt I’m not having you wandering around the city naked. Look how ridiculous you look! Here, let me help you put it on. She helps him
Drakis: Surprised. Slight remorse
Now, that… that’s a sort of… kind thing you’ve just done! And I… I took it off in such anger, too!
It’s all right! Now, you look just like you looked before: a real man! Not so stupid!
And if you hadn’t been such a pain in the bum to me just before, I’d rip that little beastie right out of your eye!
Look, it’s still there!
Is that what’s been bugging me all that time? He gives her his ring Here, take this ring and see if you can scrape it out for me, pleas and then let me take a look at the damned thing. It’s been stinging me for ages!
Yes, all right. I’ll do that for you… even though you’re such a difficult bastard.
Scrapes the “beastie” out of his eye and points it out to him
Oh, my God! Look at the size of this mosquito! Can you see it? You’d think it’s flown over all the way from that swamp hole, Three-Plume City!
Ah, thanks! Now, that’s… that’s real helpful of you! The damned thing’s been digging a well in there. Ach! But now that it’s out, a whole river of tears is gushing out of my eye!
Here, let me dry them for you. She takes a hanky out of her pocket and wipes his tears
There! And I’ll even kiss you, too, you wicked boy!
No, no kisses! No kisses! But he doesn’t resist too vigorously. In fact, his phallus betrays him.
Say what you like, I’m giving you a kiss! Does so MmmmmmmM!
Drakis: Ashamed at the disobedience displayed by his phallus
God damn you women! You’re all natural tenderisers. The old saying is true about you pests: You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them! But I’ll still make peace with you and I’ll even make a promise to you as well! I promise never to treat you badly… or to accept any bad treatment from you! So let’s get our vocals together and sing this song, hey?
Together: To the audience
Hey, folks, don’t worry!
We’re not getting ready to say anything nasty about you lot.
Not anything nasty to anyone.
Quite the reverse, in fact. We want to say – and do, good things for you!
Och! Enough suffering!
We’d like, in fact, to announce that every man and every woman who’s in need of a bit of money, say a mina or two, to… well… to come to us because we’ve got purses aplenty!
And if and when Peace comes around, all the borrowers can… keep that money!
As well, we’ll be inviting some of our Carystian allies to our home this evening. These are all good, honest men, these friends of ours.
We’ll have cooked some lovely soup and a whole sow for you!
Yes, a sow!
I’ve sacrificed her earlier so she’ll be nice and tender by then.
So, why not come around?
First, do take yourselves and your kids to the loo for a pee and a poo and while you’re at it, have a bath too.
And then… well then… walk right in and take a pew.
You’ll need no permission!
Walk right in as if it’s your own home!
Be brave, go forth… Because…
Because, the door will be well and truly…
Well and truly…
Slammed-shut to you! Hahahaha!
Stratyllis and her group retreat.
Enter the Spartan envoy: two delegates, the herald, other free men and a number of slaves. Everyone is encumbered with huge erections which they are trying awkwardly and unsuccessfully to conceal beneath their cloaks.
Oh, yes! Here are the Spartan negotiators with their flowing long beards and their long…
By God! Is that a whorehouse you’ve got beneath your cloak, man? My God! It’s totally engulfed your crotch! Hahahahaha! Spartans, welcome! Come! Please tell us your story!
Spartan Delegate 1:
Ahhhh! What’s the use of turning this into an epic of many words, ey?
He looks at the rest of his entourage and together they all lift their cloak
Our story is obvious!
Phadrias: Once again jerks his head forward for a closer inspection
Oooooh! It sure is! This tribulation has certainly… intensified.
The inflammation seems to have turned into a conflagration! Dreadful, dreadful, awful business this!
Spartan Delegate 2:
Unspeakably dreadful. But what can anyone say? Except, quickly, let someone – anyone, make peace, somehow – anyhow, anywhere…
Enter Polycharides and an Athenian negotiator, both of whom are also visibly affected by the same tribulation. For the first few moments they don’t notice the Spartan group.
Drakis: Pointing at the Athenian erections
Good God! Look! I see that our own, local boys are also holding their cloaks at some distance from their bellies. They look like wrestlers, suffering from dreaded affliction, “Wrestler’s Donger!”
Quick, someone tell us where this Lysistrata is because we are here as men…
Phadrias: Still examining the Athenian phalluses
Ahem! Your affliction seems to be similar to that of these other men, there. Do you also suffer from the dreaded “Morning Jolts and Jerks?”
God, yes! In fact they’re so severe our pricks become totally stripped of skin. See? No skin left on them. Raw flesh! They get to be so sore, soon we’ll be needing to visit young Kleisthenes himself for a fuck! (Grimaces at the prospect) Grrrr!
Look… Umm… we better be careful about this, men. You better cover all this up, otherwise those uncouth men who had chopped the dicks off the Hermes statues last year and have still not been caught, might be out there, in the audience. You wouldn’t want them to see you like that!
God, no! Good idea.
They hurriedly try to conceal the protrusions
Spartan Delegate 1: Overhearing the above
Oh, God! Let’s put our overcoats on, men, at the double!
Polycharides: Notices the Spartans
Ah! Spartans! Welcome Spartan friends. As you can see, we’ve suffered some shameful things…
Spartan Delegate 1:
Polycharides, my friend! We too have suffered terrible things, so let’s not allow those prick-thieves see us so well and truly flagellated.
They all fix their cloaks, but the result, of course must still be comical!
Right, then, Spartans! Let’s talk about what needs to be done. What are you here for?
Spartan Delegate 1:
We are here to participate in the Peace talks.
Good, so are we. Now… ummm… well, then, why don’t we call Miss Lysistrata out here, since she’s the only one who can settle our differences.
Spartan Delegate 2:
Sure! Call anyone! Even Mister Lysistratos, if you want! I’m not fussy, right now!
Gates of the acropolis open slowly and Lysistrata appears with all her friends.
Ah! No need to call her at all, it seems. She’s here. She must have heard us.
Welcome! Welcome, bravest of all the brave! Now, Lysistrata, look! The full cream of Greek men is here so you need to become all things to all of us: terrible, as well as soft; innocent as well as vulgar; demure and sweet as well as a woman… full of experience. We are gripped by your stunning virtues and have forgiven all your evil deeds.
Lysistrata: Looks at the sorry state of the men, sneers at their patronising words and addresses her friends.
This job is not too difficult. Not if you get them while they’re burning for it, rather than when they’re just taking each other’s measurements. But, I’ll soon find this out what the case is here. Where’s Miss Peace?
A beautiful naked woman is brought in. On her body is painted the map of Greece. She is brought to stand next to Lysistrata.
Lysistrata: To Stratyllis
Stratyllis, the Spartans first. Take one of them by the hand. Stratyllis is about to do so harshly but is stopped by Lysistrata No, Stratyllis don’t use a heavy, hurtful, arrogant hand, like our ignorant husbands used on us. Use a sweet, homely hand, a woman’s hand. And, if they won’t give you their hand then grab them by their prick. And you, Kallyki, you get the Athenian men and bring them here. Grab whatever they offer you.
Polycharides refuses to give her his hand so Kallyki is forced to grab his member. Both men are brought to stand next to Miss Peace.
Now, gather round, Spartans, and you, too, Athenians and listen to me The men obey. I am a woman and I have a brain. A brain that isn’t too bad, having listened to my father’s speeches and the speeches of other elders. The Muse herself didn’t do a bad job of educating me either.
So, now that I’ve got you all here, I’ll give it to you straight. I’ll tell you all you deserve to hear. You two: Spartans and Athenians alike! You both have the same altars, which you sprinkle with the same sacred water and by using the same cup. Just like relatives and friends. You do this at Olympia, at Thermopylae and at Pytho as well as a whole lot of other towns. Yet, when the enemy, the barbarian, have gathered their forces all around you, what do you do? You go about with your Greek armies, destroying Greek cities. Why is that?
That’s the first point of my speech.
To the women
Pretty good, huh?
Polycharides: Stops concentrating on Miss Peace’s body for a minute
Did she say, “Destroying?” God, I’m thoroughly destroyed by my own ever-bulging prick!
Lysistrata: Continuing her speech
Now, I’ll speak directly, first to you Spartans, alone. Don’t you know about your countryman, Pericleidas? That man came and sat by our altars, in his scarlet cloak, pale as a ghost and begged us for a few men to save Sparta from the Messinians when God had shaken your city with an earthquake and all the helots had revolted. Our own General Cimon came to you then, with four thousand troops and saved you all. And now, now you want to repay our good deed by destroying our land!
Polycharides: Taking his eyes off the naked body again
Yeah, they sure are unfair, Lysistrata!
Spartan Delegate 1: Who was also caught ogling over the body of Miss Peace
Huh? Ah, oh, yes, Yes, we’re guilty, guilty! Returning his attention to the naked body
What a bum, hey? What a remarkably beautiful bum!
And as for you, Athenians. You think I’ll let you off? Have you forgotten the days when, because of Hippias and those Thessalians, you were forced to go about wearing those demeaning old clothes dressed as slaves? Don’t you remember that the only people who came to fight by your side were the Spartans? It was they who, with a spear in their hand came here and freed you and let you replace those slave’s tunics with the fine clothes of free men.
Spartan Delegate 1:
I’ve never seen a more majestic looking woman in my entire life!
And I’ve never seen a more beautiful little paddock.
Well then? Why, having done so much good to each other, do you now fight each other? Why don’t you just stop all this hatred?
Pointing to Miss Peace
Why not… conciliate?
The two men are dumbstruck at the opportunity
Come on, approach! What’s holding you back?
All the men begin to lustfully examine Miss Peace’s body.
Spartan Delegate 1: Pointing at the lower part of the body
We’re ready for talks if they’ll let us have this bit of the Delta, here.
Spartan Delegate 1:
This bit here, Pylos. We’ve been lusting after this bit for years, caressing it…
Absolutely not! You won’t be getting Pylos!
Oh, be kind, leave it for them!
Well, what do we ask for then?
Ask for any other place instead.
Polycharides: Going over the whole body
Mmmmm! Very well, give us… first give us Echinous, around here, at the front… and then goes around her body around the back, Melia’s Gulf -mmmm these sweet, sweet apple-like buttocks… as well as both these Megarian thighs here!
Spartan Delegate 1:
You’ve gone mad! We’re not giving you everything!
Leave it Spartans. Don’t go arguing about thighs now!
Now I want to throw myself naked at this beautiful, rich soil and start ploughing straight away!
Spartan Delegate 1:
Me too! First thing tomorrow morning I want to get my plough out and –
Sign first, work later! And if you’re really planning to do some work, then, first go and deliberate. Think about it carefully, men and then go back to your allies and announce your decisions.
What allies, dearie? They’re all so horny like us, they’ll all come to the exact some decision: to fuck! Every single one of them!
Spartan Delegate 1:
I know OUR allies will, that’s for sure!
Hahaha! And there sure would be no need to ask our oversexed Carystian friends!
Miss Peace is guided back into the acropolis and exits with all the wives.
Well said. For now, though, keep yourselves pure because we women will be bedding you in the Acropolis tonight and we’ll be offering you the complete contents of our basket of goodies. In the Acropolis, you can all exchange oaths and pledges to each other and then, afterwards, you may each take his own wife home with him.
Exit Lysistrata through the gates.
Right! Let’s hurry, then, mates!
Spartan Delegate 1:
Lead the way, quick!
We’re off right now.
All except Stratyllis’ group of women have left the stage. (SL) Drakis’ men simply retreat to their territory.
Stratyllis: To the audience.
To all those children who’ve been chosen to take part in the basket-carrying ceremonies– listen to me! I’ll give you, with all my heart, all my possessions: Embroidered linen, fine clothes and jewellery of gold -everything!
All of you, I say, come get whatever of mine you find inside my home. There’s nothing in here that’s so securely locked that you can’t just break in and take it. Come on! Take it!
Hahahaha! But unless your eyes are better than mine, you’ll see nothing in there! And…
If anyone among you has slaves and children too many to feed and nothing to feed them with, well, you, too, go ahead, come to my house and get some flour. True, it’d be pitiful little grains that you’ll find but the loaf of bread they’ll bake will be huge -like a virgin’s tits.
Oh, yes! All the poor and hungry are welcome if they wish! They’re welcome to come to my house with their sacks and their bags and take away all my grain. My slave will help you fill them up himself. But!
Just a little warning beforehand, though!
Don’t come near my front door!
Beware of the dog! Woof, Woof!
All the women together laugh:
Women retreat to their territory.
Night. Loud party noises are heard from within the walls of acropolis. Vagrants aremilling around the walls, attracted by those noises. They have appeared quietly from both sides of the stage. Some are inside the walls and some at the entrance. Suddenly there’s banging against the door. Voice of Polycharides and other men, shouting at the vagrants.
Open the door! Open the door, you! Move out of the way!
Doors open and Athenian Delegates, Cinesias and some others come out. They are carrying torches, are happily inebriated and their penises have obviously been appeased.
Polycharides: To the vagrants
Move out of the way! Hey you! What are you sitting around here for? Want me to scorch your bum with my torch?
Shouts from the two groups of men and women and from the other delegates, “yeah, yeah!”
Polycharides: To the audience
What an utterly vernacular routine! No, I won’t do this! It’s absolutely old routine this! Worn out through and through. I won’t do it.
Drakis and his men:
Scorch his bum, burn his balls, scorch his bum, burn his balls!
Polycharides: To the audience. Relents.
Oh, all right then, if you insist! Just for your very own gratification, we’ll take up that extra burden in our work.
Charges towards a vagrant. Drakis, Stratyllis and other members of the two groups join in the pursuit.
And we’ll help you with that bit of extra burden… Piss off you! Run, or you’ll be mourning the loss of your long hair!
Go on, piss off, I said. When the Spartans come out after their feast, we want them to leave in peace. So, piss off!
The vagrants exit in terror, both sides of the stage, pursued by men on SL and Women, SR
I’ve never seen such a wonderful drinking party! Such joyful men, these Spartans, hey? And us? We are the wisest of men after a drink or two.
That’s right., of course! Too true, my friend. I’m certain of that!
Abstinence of alcohol -of anything really- makes the brain go sick. I’m very certain of that and if I knew how, I could persuade all the Athenians. I’d tell them that! I’d tell them that from now on we should not go off on diplomatic missions unless we are drunker than a brewer’s fart! Not a moment sooner! Because now, when we go to Sorta sporta, I mean to Sparta sober that’s what I think I mean- well, when we get there, we immediately go looking for things to stir up trouble with, and so whenever they say something, we don’t listen and when they don’t say anything we hear all sorts of things they didn’t say; and then, and then, afterwards we come here and we announce all sorts of other things again. But tonight, tonight, however we were all happy with all things, to every things… to the point where if someone had decided to sing one of those swar wongs -I mean war shongs, of Telamon’s instead of one of those peash shongs of Cleitagoras, which we should have been singing, seeing this was a piss, I mean peace party, we still praised him and even swore by his talent.
Vagrants enter again
O, Lord, they’re back again. I said pish off, you! Get off, you whip stick whacker -wanker!
Drakis and Stratyllis pursue them again until the vagrants leave the stage from both sides. The two groups stand at their territory.
Sounds of drunk men and music approaching from within the walls
Ah, here come the Shpartians! Very good chaps, those boys! Good drinking mates! Every shingle one of them.
Enter the Spartan delegates, also happily drunk and also inguinally appeased. One of them throws his arm around the other who is holding a flute.
Spartan Delegate 1: To his friend, the flute player.
Oh, ho! My very delicious -I mean, my delightful- friend! Pick up your little stick with all its little blowholes there and I’ll… I’ll pick up my two feet and we’ll dance and sing a good shlong for all our Athenian friends here and… for all of us, there, hey? I mean, here, too!
Come on, friend, lift up your little holey polies all the way up to the gods. God, I love to watch you lot dance!
Spartan Herald: Sings and dances drunkenly
Quick, Memory! Quickly rush over here! Memory! rush your Muse to this youth here pointing to the audience Your Muse knows these Athenians well. She knows about their battle at Artemisium. How like gods, these men lifted their sails to charge at the Persians and how they defeated them. And we! Leonidas led us by the husks like one leads a wild boar. Sweat soaked our beards and thighs. More Persians there than grains of sand on the shore.
Oh, Artemis, Killer of beasts, virgin Goddess of all things and manner wild! Come here and aid our pledges, that they may last a long time. And help this rich friendship hold fast these agreements. And make us forget the old, tricky, conniving, foxy dialectics! Oh, come to us, come to us, oh, Virgin Huntress!
Enter Lysistrata leading the band of wives, Caloniki, Myrrhini, Lampito, the Boetian and the Corinthian as well as the Skythian woman.
Now, then. Since you’ve brought everything to a satisfactory conclusion, you, Spartans, can take your women home with you. Each husband stand by his wife and each wife by her husband and all together let us now show our respect to the deities with a dance, so that we may never, ever sin again.
Waits until they all get ready…
…During which process they arrange themselves, most conspicuously, thus: Myrrhini snuggles up to Cinesias -penis visibly placated now- Lampito with the first Spartan delegate, Drakis with Stratyllis, Kallyki with Philourgos and Lysistrata with… Caloniki. Phadrias with one of the Spartan delegates, the Boetian and Corinthian women with each other, or with various others as per director’s discretion. They all hold hands and begin the dance and the singing.
Let’s begin the dance and invite all the Graces, and Artemis and her twin brother, gentle Apollo, the healer and Dionysos of Nysos who shines in the frenzied eyes of his attendants, the Maenads, and Zeus with his blazing flame and his blessed bed-mate, Hera as well as the rest of the gods.
Let them all come as witnesses so that we’ll never forget this peace which the wise Goddess Aphrodite has made for us.
Oh yea, oh yea, oh yea! Raise the dicks! Cock them up, oh yea, oh yea, oh yea! For the sake of Victory, yea, oh yea, hoorahae, hoorahae, hoorah!
Your turn Spartan! Show us what your Muse is made of! Back-to-back with ours.
Spartan Delegate 1: Raises his hands in prayer
Oh Muse of the Spartans!
Leave the fair peaks of our mountain, Taygetos behind you and come here, to sing with us! Sing for us a hymn extolling the virtues of Amyclae’s God, fair Apollo, and of Athena of the Bronze Abode and of the fine sons of Tyndareus, Castor and Polydeuces whose playground is by the waters of Eurotas.
Oh ho! Jump high! Leap and fly!
Oh you Spartans, makers of high-flying songs and dances! Dance for the gods and stomp your feet like roosters! Oh, ho!
By the sweet waters of Eurotas our young girls twist and turn their feet and shake their graceful Locks like fillies and like Bacchus’ lovers they play and sway their… wands, led by Helen, Leda’s daughter, a leader pure and proper.
Come, Spartans, lead us into the dance! Turn those curls with your hands in your hair, flick high your fff-fawn-like feet and come, stir up some noise… much noise to give this dance its soul.
Sing! All of you! Come, sing to please the Goddess, Omnipotent Athena of the Bronze Abode!
NOTE: Readers with knowledge of the Modern Greek language may read the comic strip of this play, by T. Apostolides and G. Akokalides here
The Greek text may be read here