The Lysistrata Project
Ryan Craig

Radio 3: Drama on 3

Broadcast: Sunday 28th May 2006 @ 7:30 p.m.

Women withold sex from their men in an attempt to end their violence in this vital, contemporary re-working of Aristophanes's classic play, developed with the help of young people living and studying in London.

After the recent events of the McCartney sisters' campaign and the determination shown by the mother of Letitia Shakespeare, it seems that woman have once again taken a stand against men's instinct for violence. Taking this observation as his springboard, writer Ryan Craig and members of the youth group DreamArts rework and retell the Greek original from 411 B.C. in an authentic modern urban voice which is radically and culturally diverse.

In this modern version, the war and stakes are set up by exploring the tribal arrangements of the teenage protaganists. In the midst of a territorial war of attrition, a father leaves his wife and twin children to go and live with his new girlfriend and her family in a nearby Estate. A battle raging with those from the Estate and those not is made more personal by this new connection, giving the young twins some complex problems to deal with.

Issues of race and class are never directly referred to in this play, but they simmer away uneasily in the underbelly of the conflict which, of course, takes place in a mutlicultural city, a city at a time when its youth speak, whatever their background, with a homogenised patois, a universally agreed dialect whose slang has devoured the English language and created it anew. What was also universally significant to the group was the devastation of divorce in a young family.

Finally, "The Lysistrata Project" is a play about the intricacy of living on the brink of adulthood, the violence that erupts when anger and confusion combine, and the black humour and determination to rise above it of those living on the front line.

With Ayesha Antoine [Lacy], Javone Prince [Lucas], Mohammed George [Mike], Gbemisola Ikumelo [Kelly], Claire-Louise Cordwell [Maria / Tanya], Carl Prekopp [Colin], and Mark Monero [Jake / Dave].

Directed by Marc Beeby. 85 min.


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