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Public Readings of Lysistrata World-wide Condemn War

by Lysistrata Project Friday, Feb. 28, 2003 at 10:06 AM

- On March 3, 2003, the Lysistrata Project will present worldwide readings of Aristophanes’ bawdy ancient Greek antiwar comedy Lysistrata. To date, 817 play readings are scheduled in 49 countries and in all 50 U.S. states to voice opposition to the war on Iraq



Celebes Join Activists Worldwide Using Ancient Play to Address Current Crisis

Public Readings of Lysistrata in 49 Countries and All 50 US States Condemn Preemptive War on Iraq

On March 3, 2003, the Lysistrata Project will present worldwide readings of Aristophanes’ bawdy ancient Greek antiwar comedy Lysistrata. To date, 817 play readings are scheduled in 49 countries and in all 50 U.S. states to voice opposition to the war on Iraq; those numbers increase hourly. Readings will raise money for charities working for peace and humanitarian aid in the Middle East and elsewhere.

In New York City, where the project originated, dozens of teams of actors and directors will read Lysistrata in public spaces throughout the day. The Lysistrata Project will then present an all-star reading of the play at 7 p.m. at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street. Mercedes Ruehl will read the title role, and will be joined by F. Murray Abraham, Kevin Bacon, Kathleen Chalfant, Delphi Harrington, Kyra Sedgwick, Lori Singer, and David Strathairn (schedules permitting). Ellen McLaughlin directs.

On the west coast, Julie Christie, Alfre Woodard, Christine Lahti, Mary McDonnell, Barbara Williams, Eric Stoltz, Roscoe Lee Browne and Jose Zuniga will appear in a reading at The Los Angeles Filmmaker Cooperative's Powerhouse Cultural Space. John Densmore of the Doors will be playing percussion for the reading. Michael Clark Haney directs. “At least for the record of history we have to let it be known that millions and millions opposed this war,” says actress Julie Christie.

There are events in Russia, China and in the jungle in Hawaii, in Athens and in Iceland, homemakers' reading groups in the Midwest and Burmese dissidents in Thailand, on sidewalks and subway platforms, in parks and theaters, at high schools and churches and bars. All of this came about in the last six weeks, propelled by growing fears about the Bush Administration’s alarming foreign policy.

Lysistrata tells the story of women from opposing states who unite to end a war by refusing to sleep with their men until they agree to lay down their swords. Powerless in their society, with too many of their sons and husbands being slaughtered in battle, the women take the only tactic available to them: a sex strike.

Fast-forward 2,400 years: swords are now weapons of mass destruction. Faced with the prospect of massive loss of human life -- both Iraqi and American -- Lysistrata Project participants worldwide take a new tactic and add their voices to the mounting clamor of global antiwar protests.

The Lysistrata Project was conceived just six weeks ago by New York actors Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower. "Before we started Lysistrata Project, we could do nothing but sit and watch in horror as the Bush Administration drove us toward a unilateral attack on Iraq," says cofounder Blume. "So we emailed all our friends and put up a web site. The response has been enormous." Co-founder Bower adds, "Many people have emailed us to say they now feel empowered to do something, and foster dialogue in their own communities about the dangers of this war."

Blume and Bower describe themselves as patriotic Americans. "With the freedom and wealth of our country comes great responsibility -- and this war is not a responsible act," says Bower. "If America rushes into a unilateral attack on Iraq, the White House not only drives our country deeper into deficit spending, but also alienates our allies, and fans the flames of anti-American sentiment all over the world."

Blume concludes, "Our purpose is to make it very clear that President Bush does not speak for all Americans. Our message is simple: If you oppose this war, then speak up!"


Lysistrata Project LA stages Aristohphane's wartime protest comedy.


In addition to LYSISTRATA-LA’s evening performance at 7 PM the Wilshire Ebell Theatre at 4401 West 8th Street Los Angeles, many other readings, large and small, will be held throughout the Los Angeles area on that date.These readings include:

1. Actors’ Gang

Location: Actors’ Gang Theater on Santa Monica Blvd.

Contact: Joanna Bloem

Notes: Reading of "Lysistrata, D.C.," a modern adaptation with music.

2. Bergamot Station

Location: Track 16, Bergamot Station, Bldg.C1, 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Contact: Neeta 310 521 9401,

Notes: Limited seating so call before February 28th. Reservations 310-264-4678.

Suggested donation to benefit the Global Women's Strike

3. California Institute for the Arts

Location: Valencia, 24700 McBean Parkway, Main Gallery @ Cal Institute for the Arts

Contact: Meredith Lynsey

Notes: Bring Pillows and Blankets to the Reading! Two readings at 12pm and 11pm Website:

4. Elite Theatre Company

Location: Oxnard

Contact: Patti Strickland -

5. Las Chicas Collective

Location: Espresso Mi Cultura 8PM (TBD)


Notes: flamenco inspired reading with women’s book club

6. Long Beach


Contact: Kathryn Jennings -

7. North Hollywood II

Contact: America Young -

8. North Hollywood III

Contact: April Stewart -

9. Pacific Resident Theater

Location: 703 Venice Blvd.

6:30 PM Cocktail party followed by silent art auction then reading.

at door, benefiting MADRE and Not In Our Name


10. Road Theater

Location: Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., NoHo, 91601

Contact: Jason Breitkopf -

Notes: 8 PM Part of Road Theater Company’s Roadsigns reading series

11. Rolling Hills Estates


Contact: Suzan Fairchild -

12. Second City

Location: Second City Studio Theatre

Contact: Lee Costello

Notes: improv reading with students

13. Theatre FoFo

Location: Pasadena

Contact: Tom Kellogg 626-793-3333

Notes: looking for venue

14. Theater Underground

Location: UCLA

Contact: Maryam Griffin –

Notes: evening reading benefiting OXFAM at UCLA

15. Towne Street Theatre & the Actors Forum

Location: TBD

Contact: Dir. Nancy Cheryll Davis –

Notes: TBD


16. USC


Contact: Chiara Sulpriazio -

Notes: On campus, 2 – 4 pm

17. Venice Group

Location: 660 Venice Boulevard, LAFCO Powerhouse (across the street from Beyond Baroque).

Contact: Prods. Gioconda Belli -; Charles Castaldi, Roderick Spencer Dir. Michael Haney

Notes: Venue can hold 200+, participants will include Julie Christie, Alfre Woodard, Christine Lahti, Mary McDonnell, Barbara Williams, Eric Stoltz, Ed Begley Jr, Roscoe Lee Brown, Jose Zuniga among others

18. Topanga Canyon - The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Location: Topanga Elementary School Auditorium, 141 N. Topanga Cnyn Blvd, Topanga Canyon

Doors open 6:30p Speakers 7:p Reading 8:p


Notes: A new musical version for today, freely adapted by Ellen Geer

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