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Lysistrata – “Lizzie” to You –

22 Feb

(originally posted in 2008 – I’m adding new stuff at the end)

07Feb

Lizzie Borden, five years deceased, would have been appalled by the 1932 Carthay Circle Theater advertisement below.

Aristophane’s comedy Lysistrata (written in 411 BC) was performed at the Carthay Circle Theater in New York with Nance O’Neil in the lead role. The program ad below has “LIZZIE TO YOU” written below the title. One would think that a diminutive or nickname of Lysistrata was “Lizzie”, but Lysistrata really means “releaser of war” or “she who disbands armies”.

Lizzie might have even have found the play itself distasteful, classical Greek literature notwithstanding.

Anyway, 75+ years later, perhaps only those of us absorbed in all things Lizzie find the double entendre humor in this reference.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the play – hardly our “Lizzie” at all. Then again, in another life – she could have been. I can see that. Can you? 😉

“The women of Athens, led by Lysistrata and supported by female delegates from the other states of Hellas, determine to take matters into their own hands and force the men to stop the War. They meet in solemn conclave, and Lysistrata expounds her scheme, the rigorous application to husbands and lovers of a self-denying ordinance–“we must refrain from the male altogether.” Every wife and mistress is to refuse all sexual favours whatsoever, till the men have come to terms of peace. In cases where the women must yield ‘par force majeure,’ then it is to be with an ill grace and in such a way as to afford the minimum of gratification to their partner; they are to be passive and take no more part in the amorous game than they are absolutely obliged to. By these means Lysistrata assures them they will very soon gain their end. “If we sit indoors prettily dressed out in our best transparent silks and prettiest gewgaws, and all nicely depilated, they will be able to deny us nothing.” Such is the burden of her advice.

After no little demure, this plan of campaign is adopted, and the assembled women take a solemn oath to observe the compact faithfully. Meantime as a precautionary measure they seize the Acropolis, where the State treasure is kept; the old men of the city assault the doors, but are repulsed by “the terrible regiment” of women. Before long the device of the bold Lysistrata proves entirely effective, Peace is concluded, and the play ends with the hilarious festivities of the Athenian and Spartan plenipotentiaries in celebration of the event.” -Theater Database

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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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