Lysistrata and the Temple of Gaia by David S. Craig
Inspired by the comical/political masterpiece by Aristophanes, Lysistrata and the Temple of Gaia stages the battle between men and women, patriarchy against matriarchy, not as a sex strike to stop a war but as a campaign by women to save a planet.
The play is set in an imaginary future world where carbon emissions, as predicted, have continued to grow. It is a world of sudden storms, wild temperature changes, dangerous air quality and massive species extinctions which is referred to simply as “the weather”. Everyone has adapted to the weather. After all, what can you do about it? It’s the weather.
As the play begins, the fabulously wealthy Lysistrata, her gorgeous young niece Pandora and her weather-worried friend Cassandra, are preparing to re-enact an ancient rite to summon the Goddess Gaia. Lysistrata desperately hopes the goddess will cure her bareness, a common condition in this future world, and give her a child. The ceremony is interrupted by Cleon, Lysistrata’s husband, who, with his comrades, young Theo (who lusts for Pandora) and his charge d’affaires Pietr (who is newly wed to Cassandra), are returning from a successful military adventure in support of the Caliph of the Levant. The men are expecting a warm hero’s welcome, and each press their suit, but are sent away. The ceremony continues and to the astonishment of all, Gaia actually appears. But she is not a kindly earth mother. She is a furious earth avenger. Her green earth is tarnished and torn; Her beasts and birds are massacred. Water, air and oceans are defiled. Humankind is to blame and Gaia sentences every man, woman and child to watery death. The women plead for mercy and are given until dawn to persuade the three men to worship Gaia and be earth defenders. The men are unbelieving, unimpressed and uncooperative which leaves the women infuriated. They withdraw their sexual favours which causes the men’s passion to rise – in the classical sense. While the future of the human race hangs in the balance, the three couples engage in a desperate battle of control. Will the patriarchy prevail? Will exploitation trump co-operation? Will testosterone beat estrogen? Short term over long term? And most crucially to every man, woman and child on this planet, are we going to make it through the night?
Keywords: Aristophanes, gender, sex, climate change, Goddess, feminism, comedy, classic, adaptation
Minimum number of roles: 8