No peace, no SEX!! Lysistrata – the sex strike

On a gorgeous Summer evening, we had the pleasure of seeing the Canopy Theatre’s production of Lysistrata – the Sex Strike, our first taste of outdoor theatre on the Philosopher’s Stage Downtown Toronto. We arrived early at Philosopher’s Walk in the UofT grounds and found a sweet spot to lay our blanket down between the two stages.

Lysistrata (Claire Acott) is tired of the Peloponnesian war and with the help of the women on all sides, strategizes a way to end the war by withholding sex from their husbands and lovers until a peace treaty is signed. Calling themselves “Women for Peace”, Lysistrata along with the Spartan women Lampito (Andrea Blakely) and Iris (Kathleen Black) band together to keep their men wanting them but remain unattainable, sending their men into a fit of sexual frustration.

When their lovers return on leave from the war, the women’s resolve is tested, Myrrhine (Carolyn Hall) being the first woman to waiver in the women’s treaty after her husband Kinesias (Chris Murray) returns after many months with an impressive erection. The men’s frustrations and difficulties are very apparent – as seen by the massive fake boners each male actor sported throughout the second act.

And it’s not just the Athenian men that are suffering, their Spartan counterparts are equally on edge and hard….pressed to find a willing woman to warm their beds. But the women stay united in their desire for the war to end and for the permanent return of their lovers and they do not give in to their own natural desires until a peace treaty is signed.

Lysistrata – the Sex Strike was a hilarious, fun and wholly entertaining adaptation to Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata”, addressing the question that has plagued mankind for centuries; can sex be used as a motivator? If you haven’t already guessed, Lysistrata is a piece of work over 2000 years old, and she has most certainly aged well with a theme that is still used in modern times by women to get what they want. But it’s not just about withholding sex to get their way, at its core Lysistrata is about female empowerment, the only power they were allotted at the time.

We have to wonder how all the male actors were able to keep a straight face and remember all their lines while having to wear towels over their raging fake boners bouncing about up and down the stage. We’ll freely admit that we hoped for a male wardrobe malfunction from some of the actors. Afterall, all that separated us from them was a flimsy towel. Platonic love? Yes, please.

But giant appendages weren’t the only things popping up last night; to our surprise we spotted a familiar face in the crowd. It was none other than Neil Silcox, who played Laurence in Hart House’s production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels back in January that we so enjoyed. True to our CityGirls roots, we stayed planted where we were and just stared at him boldly from across the aisle.

Lysistrata – the sex strike is only on for 2 more shows. If you haven’t seen yet, we encourage you to do so tonight or tomorrow before it’s over. Tickets are $10 at the door.

images curtesy of Canopy Theatre