Laura Bush thought it might be nice to have a little party at the White House for some poets, but the invited writers bit back, insisting on turning the day into a protest against the war against Iraq. Voilá, no poet party, and poor Mrs. Bush probably won't be allowed to throw as much as a potluck until after the new tenants of 1600 Pennsylvania have decided whether they want flat or eggshell paint.
In these parts, of course, we encourage that sort of behavior -- rowdy poets being our idea of a party. Which brings us to the Lysistrata Project, a global act of war resistance seductively clothed in comedy and scheduled for March 3. Lysistrata, if you haven't been keeping up with your Aristophanes, was a Greek woman who came up with a novel way to end the Peloponnesian War. She and a bunch of her homegirls dressed up and took over the treasury, and refused to come out -- or put out -- until their husbands agreed to stop fighting. On Monday, theater artists representing 37 countries will stage more than 400 idiosyncratic readings of this classic Greek comedy, in an event touted by organizers as "the first ever worldwide theater event for peace." Many of the readings are free; the ones that sell tickets will give the money to such organizations as Amnesty International and the International Red Cross.
Around the bay, there are ten events scheduled, including a "Lysistrata Cabaret" with East Bay-based Emerald Rain Theater in attendance at the Magic Theater. On this side of the bridge, the two big events are a free reading on the steps of Oakland City Hall at noon, and performances on the Berkeley Rep's Roda stage at 6:30 and 9:00 p.m. Tickets to the Rep event can be had for $20 from Frantix, 1-866-372-6849. For more information about any of the local events, visit www.lysistratabayarea.com.
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