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Plays
Lysistrata 2K5: Sistas on Strike

Directed by Scott Sedar

LYSISTRATA: I bet if they were invited to an Usher concert or a slammin’ Avon party, the streets would be unpassable. But you know what, my neighbor Calonicé always comes. As a matter of fact, I see her right there. . . . What’s up Calonicé? What’s crack-a-lackin?

CALONICÉ: Nothing much. Lysistatra, you look a hot mess!

LYSISTRATA: Girl, my heart is beatin’. I’m so angry and embarrassed. These men only think we’re tricky and sly.

CALONICÉ: And you know they’re right.

LYSISTRATA: But look. Why when we ask our sistas to meet at the most important time, they stay at home in bed instead of coming.

CALONICÉ: Oh, they will come. You know it ain’t easy for them to leave the house. One is busy rappin’ with her man, another is getting’ a makeover, another one is cookin’ and the other is puttin’ her brat to sleep or washin’ or feedin’ ‘em.

LYSISTRATA: I know it’s hard but this is more important than any of those lame excuses.

CALONICÉ: Why are we here anyway? What is this all about?

LYSISTRATA: This is about a huge strike against the husbands at war.

CALONICÉ: Is it that important?

LYSISTRATA: Yes, this is very important. More important than changing a diaper that’s been sitting for 15 hours.

CALONICÉ: And those women are not here yet.

LYSISTRATA: Oh girl, if it was what you thought, a woman would never show up. There would be no meeting, which can’t happen cause I have thought about this so hard that I haven’t even paid my light bill.

CALONICÉ: It must be something serious, if you let your lights go out.

LYSISTRATA: So serious, it means if our husbands come home to us, we women will have saved our country.

CALONICÉ: Saved by women! Lysistrata you know this idea is skatin’ on thin ice.

LYSISTRATA: The money and future of our country depends on it. It is within us to utterly undo the men.

CALONICÉ: That is a wonderful idea, yes indeed.

LYSISTRATA: We will not lose, especially if the Wahler Place and Trenton Park women fight with us. Victory will be ours.

CALONICÉ: How’s that?

LYSISTRATA: Don’t worry, no man is going to raise his gun to another . . .

CALONICÉ: In that case, hold on, let me go and get my negligee from my house.

LYSISTRATA: . . . or use a shield.

CALONICÉ: I’ll run and put on my fuzzy slippers.

LYSISTRATA: . . . or take out his knife.

CALONICÉ: I’ll go and buy a silk dress.

LYSISTRATA: Now, shouldn’t the women have showed up?

CALONICÉ: I know one thing, they will be here at daybreak.

LYSISTRATA: Girl, you see those ghetto women do everything late. There’s not a woman that will come from Oxon Run or from Maryland. And the women from Virginia, I thought they’d be the first to come.

CALONICÉ: Look, here come some women! What part of town are they from?

LYSISTRATA: They are from PG County.

CALONICÉ: Dang, it’s practically all of the ladies of PG County.

MYRRHINE: Are we late Lysistrata? Tell us please, say something.

LYSISTRATA: I cannot say much for you Myrrhine cause it seems you don’t care for such urgency.

MYRRHINE: I could not find my bootcut jeans in the dark. However, if the matter is so important, here we are, so speak.

LYSISTRATA: Nah, wait, hold on. Let’s wait for the women from the Farms and Parklands.

MYRRHINE: Yes, this is good. . . . Oh, here comes Lampito.

LYSISTRATA: What’s up Lampito. Girl, you look good. What a good looking suntan, have you been workin’ out? You could body slam a grown elephant.

LAMPITO: Yes, indeed. I really could. It’s because I do tae bo.

LYSISTRATA: Girl, you’re handling your hips real well, they look good.

LAMPITO: Thanks, chile.

LYSISTRATA: And this woman, (pointing at a woman approaching) what part of town is she from?

LAMPITO: She is a super woman from Mississippi Avenue.

LYSISTRATA: Ah, my girl from the Ave. You lookin’ good to be growing up in the hood.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Yeah, girl, where you get your hair and nails done?

LYSISTRATA: Now, who is this?

LAMPITO: Oh she’s honest, please I represent my faith. She comes from Wheeler Creek.

LYSISTRATA: Oh, honest for a woman from Wheeler Creek.

LAMPITO: But who called us together – this wonderful council of women.

LYSISTRATA: I did.

LAMPITO: Well, what do you want?

LYSISTRATA: I’ll tell you girl, dang.

MYRRHINE: What is this most important info you want to talk to us about?

LYSISTRATA: I’ll tell you. But answer my question first.

MYRRHINE: What is it?

LYSISTRATA: Are you mad cause your baby daddies are off fighting each other? I’ll answer that one--not one of you has a husband who is not in the streets at this minute.

CALONICÉ: For the last five months mine has been in looking for the thug who shot his cousin.

LYSISTRATA: It’s been seven months since my husband left with his homies.

LAMPITO: Well, let me tell you bout my man. He comes in from the streets, and the next thing you know he’s back at war again.

LYSISTRATA: Now, as for my husband, since the day someone shot out his windshield, I haven’t spent quality time with him. Now, if I know a way to stop the war, will my girls have my back?

MYRRIHINE: Yes, I will do anything to stop the violence.

CALONICÉ: I will even cut off my hair and donate it.

LAMPITO: Girl, I’ll walk all the way from southeast to the top of the monument and back.

LYSISTRATA: Then, in that case, I’ll tell you that in order to stop our husbands and make peace, we must. . .

MYRRHINE: We must what . . . c’mon, you’re killin’ us!

LYSISTRATA: No matter what it is, will you do it?

MYRRHINE: Yes, of course.

LYSISTRATA: We must not accept our husbands all together. Make them ask questions like: Why do you sleep on the couch? Why do you stay out until 2 and 3 in the morning? Why do you suck your teeth and smack your lips every time we speak? Are y’all still in? Don’t hesitate.

MYRRHINE: Naw, can’t do it, forget peace.

LYSISTRATA: Now, girl, you just said you was in. What’s up with that?

CALONICÉ: I am, I am. But to neglect our husbands, the most precious things in the world to us. Come on, Lysistrata.

LYSISTRATA: Girl, what about you?

MYRRHINE: Yes, I agree with the others. I would rather go through hot fire.

LYSISTRATA: Oh vicious girls! Are we good for nothing but food and goodies? But you, from the Farms, join me and we’ll be winners at once.

LAMPITO: I don’t know Lysistrata, it’s hard not to care for them. But, peace is way more important.

LYSISTRATA: Oh, you’re my homegirl, the only one I can call a woman.

CALONICÉ: But, if we do go along with what you say, will we get peace?

LYSISTRATA: Of course, when they come home, low music will be playing, we’ll have candles lit, four courses will be on the table, perfume smelling in the air. Then, when we think they are relaxed, we’ll say, ‘This is your last meal. No dessert. I’m tired. I’m going to bed.’ We’ll go to sleep, and then they’ll rush to make peace.

LAMPITO: Yeah, the same thing happened when Keshia got dressed up all pretty and made greens and black eyed peas, her husband, Moe got rid of his gun.

CALONICÉ: But what if our men leave us?

LYSISTRATA: Then, as Bush says we must “kill a skinned dog,” that’s all.

CALONICÉ: Naw man, Bush makes up stuff. What if our husbands drag us into the kitchen?

LYSISTRATA: Hold on to the door knob.

CALONICÉ: But what if they beat us?

LYSISTRATA: Then go and give them what they want. But with a bad attitude, no smiles, no chicken, no cake. He would finally give up. Plus, there are a million ways to torment them.

CALONICÉ: Yea, I agree with that.

LAMPITO: We’re going to persuade our men to make peace. But what about the rest of the mad citizens hungry for war?

LYSISTRATA: Don’t be scared of trying to get our people to listen to common sense.

LAMPITO: It’s impossible as long as they have their Glocks and TEC-9s.

LYSISTRATA: No, we discussed that already. The older women will take over all the banks and check cashing stores, so there’s no money to buy guns or bullets.

LAMPITO: That’s wassup! This is gonna really work.

LYSISTRATA: Come here, come quick. Let us make an unbreakable oath.

LAMPITO: Tell us what to swear by.

LYSISTRATA: With pleasure. Where is our little cousin? What are you starin’ at youngin’? We will sacrifice a mouse. Go on and get one, don’t stand there looking stupid.

CALONICÉ: So, what are we gonna swear on?

LYSISTRATA: What oath? Why up in the quarters they sacrifice the mouse’s body and pray over the tail. We’ll do the same.

CALONICÉ: Naw, Lysistrata, we cannot swear over the tail.

LYSISTRATA: Nah, what else can we sacrifice then?

CALONICÉ: Let’s swear on a 100 year old chicken egg.

LYSISTRATA: Where we gon’ get a 100 year old chicken egg from in D.C.?

CALONICÉ: Well, what oath are we gonna have?

LYSISTRATA: Listen, we’re gonna get some fried chicken and lay it on a sand made star and make our sacrifice.

LAMPITO: Wow, that’s sounds tasty.

LYSISTRATA: Bring me a bucket of sand and some fried chicken.

CALONICÉ: Here it is! This is a big bucket of sand, I can’t wait to pour it out.

LYSISTRATA: Pour the sand on the ground and draw a star in it with a stick. Everyone take two steps back. Lay down the chicken in the middle. Accept this sacrifice that I beg of you. Ohhh.

CALONICÉ: Oh how good it smells.

LAMPITO: Wow, what a delicious meal.

LYSISTRATA: Now, girls let me swear first.

CALONICÉ: Naw chill, let’s have a lottery.

LYSISTRATA: Alright, y’all come and put your hands in the star. Calonicé you go first.

CALONICÉ: I will stay away from my man . . .

LYSISTRATA: Even if he comes at me with sweet words.

CALONICÉ: Even if he comes at me with sweet words. . . . No, Lysistrata, I can’t take it.

LYSISTRATA: I’ll live at home with a perfect attitude.

CALONICÉ: I’ll live at home with a perfect attitude.

LYSISTRATA: I’ll be beautifully dressed and smelling good.

CALONICÉ: I’ll be beautifully dressed and smelling good.

LYSISTRATA: Until the end, I will taunt my husband without giving him anything he wants.

CALONICÉ: Until the end, I will taunt my husband without giving him anything he wants.

LYSISTRATA: Never will I cook or clean for him voluntarily.

CALONICÉ: Never will I cook or clean for him voluntarily.

LYSISTRATA: And if he was to try to make me do a dance.

CALONICÉ: And if he was to try to make me do a dance.

LYSISTRATA: I will stand still with no rhythm.

CALONICÉ: I will stand still with no rhythm.

LYSISTRATA: I will show no affection at all.

CALONICÉ: I will show no affection at all.

LYSISTRATA: Nor will I give him kisses.

CALONICÉ: Nor will I give him kisses.

LYSISTRATA: And if I stay truthful to my words, I will grub all this fried chicken.

CALONICÉ: And if I stay truthful to my words, I will grub all this fried chicken.

LYSISTRATA: But if I mess up and lose focus of this mission, this fried chicken shall turn to moldy.

CALONICÉ: But if I mess up and lose focus of this mission, this fried chicken shall turn to moldy.

LYSISTRATA: Will y’all accept my offer?

MYRRHINE: Yes, yes.

LYSISTRATA: Then okay, I will go on.

CALONICÉ: Alright, alright honey. Let us all eat up this greasy chicken and be friends forever.

LAMPITO: Wait, shh! What’s all that noise?

LYSISTRATA: Listen to what I’m saying. The women just occupied the Riggs Bank. Lampito, you go to Parklands and get our plan going while you girls stay here as hostages. Let the rest of us remain together, go to the streets and bring peace.

CALONICÉ: But don’t you think those men are gonna try to bum rush us?

LYSISTRATA: Laugh at them. We are not scared, they shall do as we say and command.

CALONICÉ: Alright, alright, let us stay determined.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: C’mon men, let’s make moves. Here the women are trying to take over the hall and lock the gates. Jason, man, hurry and get some firewood and lighter fluid. (Builds a fire) Let us punish these hussies!

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Oh no, there’s smoke and fire! You old fools, don’t get rocked. Y’all making fun of us. Alright, okay. Let us show you something. We’re gonna kick a freestyle and yes you’re gonna care. Hit the beat. Lysistrata, hit the beat. No more food from us, go catch the bus and go to the store. Food from us, you will get no more. Betty Crocker, yeah, we bake the cake. You old fools, just made a mistake. Ladies, quick get some water so we can put the fire out.

STRATYLLIS: Y’all need to leave me alone, get out of my face (She calls for help).

CHORUS OF WOMEN: What is this I see? You foolish old men? Why, how outrageous you monkeys act. Stop playin’ yourselves.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Ah ha! This sure is funny! These ignorant women guarding the gates.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Yeah, buddy are you scared.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Hold up, wait a minute, Tyrone. We need to stop all their snap, crackle, and pop!

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Ladies, let’s put down our cooking pots on the ground, just in case these losers try to offer us violence.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: We gon’ knock out two or three teeth, then, they’ll shut up.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Keep on talking to us like that, we’re going to snap you off. If you know what I mean.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: What up, let’s make these broads shut up!

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Find some new rhymes. You’re not going to hurt us, bums.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: I’ll tear out ya lungs and the guts inside with my teeth.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: What? Man, stop playing. I’ll rip your arms off.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Oh what a poet! He says (pointing to one of the guys) women are like shameless animals.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: You need to shut up, seriously. Let’s get the water jugs.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: What’re you gonna do with water, you wanna get slaughtered?

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Stop rhyming and go back to work. But first take a bath cause you smell like dirt.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: I don’t need no bath, you dirty wench!

CHORUS OF WOMEN: We’re gonna put your fire out.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Naw, we wanna roast your female friends. What will stop me from roasting you with my torch?

CHORUS OF WOMEN: I am getting your bath ready to clean your dirty mouth and butt.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: A bath, whatever, you hussie!

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Yep, a bath!

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Do you hear that?

CHORUS OF WOMEN: I am free, I tell you. Free from you.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: I will make you hold ya tongue.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: You won’t even get close enough to a judge or jury.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Burn her hair.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Water, water! Ha ha ha! (Throwing water on the men)

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Oh no you didn’t.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Ain’t it hot?

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Hot double hockey sticks, yes.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: This water is to help you bloom.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Finally I am dry! But now I’m freezing.

MAGISTRATE: Them women, haven’t they made enough chicken clucking noise. . . . They are going on and on. Well it seems as if they gave all their speeches. But they said nothing. Don’t you women get embarrassed for your crazy ways?

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Look at what they have done to us with their water pots? Then left us outside to dry.

MAGISTRATE: They did a shizz nizz job on you too. But why can’t those gold-diggers appreciate the things that we do for them. So they can appreciate us, let’s break through the gates and beat them.

LYSISTRATA: No need to force the gates. I’m leaving. We all want common sense, nothing else.

MAGISTRATE: Close your mouth! Officer, hurry up cause we ain’t got all day, put hand cuffs on this woman.

LYSISTRATA: If he lays a finger on me, officer or whoever he may be, he better watch his back.

MAGISTRATE: (To the officer) Seize her, I tell you get her.

FIRST WOMAN: If you lay a hand on her, I will smash you, put a gash in you.

MAGISTRATE: Where is my other officer? Bind that purple rabbit who is talking out of her head.

SECOND WOMAN: Don’t touch her! If you do, you betta call for a doctor!

MAGISTRATE: Me? No, no, who you talking to? You’re not talking to me honey.

THIRD WOMAN: The lady said if you go near her, she’ll whip you!

MAGISTRATE: Oh I am so fed-up! My own mens bounce on me. How are we gonna get beat by a bunch of broads? Let’s go men.

LYSISTRATA: Oh my goodness, you’ll have four groups of women on you and we are all armed with pots and pans.

MAGISTRATE: Let’s go men, and take hold of these women!

LYSISTRATA: Come homegirls, let’s beat them. You thought you was just messing with lame women. (They beat the officers) But for real, we are hard-core strong women.

MAGISTRATE: Great! Just what we need.

LYSISTRATA: Ha ha! We are not slave women. We are free and brave.

MAGISTRATE: Like I’m supposed to care. Get out of my face with that stuff.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Dude c’mon. Don’t you know they wet us up with hot water?

CHORUS OF WOMEN: What would you rather we did? You shouldn’t have brought it to us. That’s what you get, mess with queen bees and you’ll get stung.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: How are we gonna have a victory over these monsters? It’s way too much. Magistrate, please question them. Find out what the deal is.

MAGISTRATE: (Speaking to the women) Why did you lock the doors?

LYSISTRATA: To keep the money safe. No more money, no more war.

MAGISTRATE: So you think money is the cause of all this drama and war?

LYSISTRATA: Yeah, it is the cause of all our troubles.

MAGISTRATE: So, then what should we do?

LYSISTRATA: You’re asking me? Well, I think we should propose to control the banks on our own. We’re going to hand out the money.

MAGISTRATE: Stop playin?

LYSISTRATA: Why, are you surprised? Don’t we control our household expenses, so why not control the community’s money?

MAGISTRATE: Because it’s different.

LYSISTRATA: Why is it?

MAGISTRATE: The community supplies the dough for the war, you know for bullets and guns.

LYSISTRATA: Our first rule is no war!

MAGISTRATE: What! You’re buggin, and what about the safety of our streets.?

LYSISTRATA: Ha, we’re gonna save you man.

MAGISTRATE: I don’t wanna be saved by no half brain females.

LYSISTRATA: Yeah, we will.

MAGISTRATE: That is so sorry.

LYSISTRATA: Yeah, we’re gonna save you whether you’re in or not.

MAGISTRATE: Oh! This is madness you dumb witches.

LYSISTRATA: You look like you don’t wanna hear this, but you have to.

MAGISTRATE: This is pure wickedness.

LYSISTRATA: We’re going to save you, son.

MAGISTRATE: But if I don’t want to be saved by a mere weak woman?

LYSISTRATA: That’s one more reason why we’re gonna save you.

MAGISTRATE: Can’t believe it? Such tough words for someone as weak as yourself, all concerned with war and peace!

LYSISTRATA: A-ight, we’ll explain it to you.

MAGISTRATE: Out with it female (threatening her). You’re wasting my time.

LYSISTRATA: Now chill, and listen.

MAGISTRATE: Oh this is way too much. Hurry. I can’t keep my cool!

A WOMAN: Ok then. Since you don’t need our help, then just take care of yourself; you have more to fear anyway.

MAGISTRATE: Shut up your nagging, you old crowbar fool! (Speaking to Lysistrata) You, say what you have to say now!

LYSISTRATA: All the time the fighting was going on, we women said nothing about our husbands leaving us. We took it, cried, let our husbands go, and that was it. In our homes, we overheard you discussing your beefs and when we’d ask, “did they talk about a truce?” You men would tell us, “shut up, mind your business!”

A WOMAN: Except for me. Not me, not me. I would have said something about that.

MAGISTRATE: Yeah, you say something like that and you’ll shut up after all them hits that come to you for saying something like that.

LYSISTRATA: Well, as for me, I’d hush myself. Then, I’d say some things. Those would just anger my husband. And, he’d say, “mind your business. War is men’s business only, go make yourself useful.”

MAGISTRATE: That’s right! War is men’s business.

LYSISTRATA: Whateva! I am W.A.R. Women Are Real. You won’t let us argue against your foolish mistakes. We heard you in the streets searching for men, but you couldn’t find ‘em. They’re gone. Now we ladies have made up our minds to save our neighborhood. Listen to our wise advice and we’ll make things right.

MAGISTRATE: Enough with your sorry ideas. Shut up!

LYSISTRATA: Why don’t you shut up!

MAGISTRATE: I’d rather be stabbed a hundred times before I follow some veil wearing woman.

LYSISTRATA: If it’s all that, you take my veil, put it on and don’t say nothing. Then, take this basket, put on a girdle and do everything else. The war will be women’s business.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Ladies, put aside your pots, pans and steaks burning on the grill. We will protect you. Never get tired; never let your strength weaken. We won’t get scared, me and my allies on which all beauty, virtue, grace and boldness is based, who will save this land.

LYSISTRATA: Thanks sistahs! May the gods keep you lookin’ fly. So then, we’ll leave these men wrapped around our fingers and then we’ll have peace.

MAGISTRATE: Oh! What makes you think so highly of yourself Lysistrata?

LYSISTRATA: Let me tell you, we won’t see anymore mad men at the market holding guns and knives.

A WOMAN: That will be some prize, won’t it, just like our respect.

LYSISTRATA: Yes, that’s true. Now we’ll see them in the kitchen, cause they’ll have to cook for themselves, slapping the pans around and knocking boiled water over.

MAGISTRATE: Yeah, that’s right. That’s how all brave men do.

LYSISTRATA: Oh that’s so funny, a man wearing a cooking apron, walking to the store for more grease. Ha ha ha! I laugh in the faces of all brave men.

MAGISTRATE: How do you expect to bring back peace to all of D.C.?

LYSISTRATA: It’s the easiest thing to do in the world.

MAGISTRATE: Tell me how to do that.

LYSISTRATA: Like when we’re sewing, fixing your clothes, and the thread gets tangled up, we work to untangle it until it is done. Same with the war. We will work on our task of peace until it’s done.

MAGISTRATE: With your silly thread and house stuff, you think you can destroy evil enemies, you crazy lady.

LYSISTRATA: If only you had common sense, you would know to do the same in politics as we do with our thread.

MAGISTRATE: Why do you say that?

LYSISTRATA: First, we clean the thread to get rid of grease and other dirty stuff, do the same with all the filthy residents. Then, when people come from different parts of the city in search of jobs, we must bring them together like different colored threads. Wind them into one and the city can weave itself.

MAGISTRATE: Is it not a sin to see women managing the city, women who are not trained in the art of war?

LYSISTRATA: You stupid thing! I can’t tell whether you are a man or something else. We have the sons that go fight these battles, but yet we don’t have any part in this war?

MAGISTRATE: Why did you have to bring that up? Just by bringing up memories like that, you shall never prevail in the war.

LYSISTRATA: We are beautiful, but yet we have no one to cherish because our husbands are at war. (Weeping briefly) Wait, let me have a moment. . . . And what kindles my anger is to see our young beautiful girls growing up sad, lonely and continuously growing old without any man by their sides to love them.

MAGISTRATE: (Angrily) What about us men? We get old also, silly woman!

LYSISTRATA: Who are you calling a silly woman? Besides your age and our age is not the same thing. Just like when a soldier comes back home from the wars, he finds him a young beautiful wife. Us women only have a short time to have kids. If we don’t have kids in our younger age, then, what blessing shall we really have?.

MAGISTRATE: But the old man can still get jiggy with it.

LYSISTRATA: Why don’t you just die? You’ve got money—go buy yourself a fancy funeral, and I’ll bring the flowers. Here’s some water to put them in. (Drenching him with water.)

FIRST WOMAN: And you can have this too! (Drenching him with water.)

SECOND WOMAN: I feel the same way. (Drenching him with water.)

LYSISTRATA: Hey Magistrate, why don’t you go get hit by a bus? The devil is waiting for you.

MAGISTRATE: All these insults. You treat me like trash. I will go to my fellow magistrates just like this to show them what you have done.

LYSISTRATA: Why blame us for the way that you really are? You’re all wet. Now, we’ll be having your funeral at 8 am tomorrow. So be at there at 8. Not 8:01, not even 8 and 5 seconds. That’s 8, and don’t be late.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Everyone wake up I say! Women are trying to tell us what to do. They’re making a tomfool of us. Just by this rumor of war, women from all around have gotten together against us. And that’s not all—they’re siding with our enemies. It’s a sin and a shame. But I won’t stand for it. From now on, I’m not going anywhere without hiding a blade in my sock. And for starters, I’m going to break a few of that old witch’s teeth.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Never pretend to be a brave man, cause even your own mother won’t recognize you. Now, everyone, you should listen to me, because you know I’m smarter than you. In sixth grade I won the spelling bee. In seventh grade I made honor roll. And in eighth grade I was head cheerleader. My people have always been good to me, so you know I’ll tell you the truth.

What difference does it make if I’m a woman? I work hard and pay my taxes, but you fat old men just sit around on your big round behinds all day. And you think you can tell us what to do? You waste all our money and our children fighting your stupid wars. What do you have to say for yourselves?

No wait. Don’t say anything, because you might just make me madder. And then I’ll have to lay my shoe upside your head, and it’s got a five inch heel.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Now we’re going to have to punish these young hussies. Any man who has a pair of Jordans left in his closet better put them on. We must act like young men again. Take off your old suede shoes and high-water pants and put on an Iverson jersey and some baggy jeans. We may be old, but we’re still men, and we’re not going to let these women tell us what to do. If we let them boss us around, no man will ever get his dinner cooked or his shirt ironed again.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: I swear by the powerful goddess, if we get angry then you will get smacked! You don’t want to measure your strength with mine, you old fart, because mine is stronger. I laugh at all the threats that come from you. Pass all the laws you want—that won’t hurt us either, as long as I’ve got my girls by my side. We’ll never be free of your stupid made-up rules until someone breaks your skinny old neck.

(Several days have passed)

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Yo, Lysistrata, you’re the one who’s in charge. Why are you looking so down?

LYSISTRATA: Ya’ll are messing up. You’re weak. It’s very discouraging.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: What? What’s the matter?

LYSISTRATA: I’m only gonna tell you what I know is true.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: What’s going on? Come on, tell your friends.

LYSISTRATA: Oh, this is so hard to say, but yet it’s very hard to hide.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: You can’t hide it from us. Tell us what it is.

LYSISTRATA: There’s just one way to say it. Y’all are boy crazy.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Oh Zeus! Oh my god!

LYSISTRATA: What’s the point of calling on Zeus? What I’m saying is I can’t stop these women from chasing after the boys. They are climbing out windows, sneaking out the back door, making all kinds of excuses for why they have to get home. Look, there goes one now. Hey you, where do you think you’re going?

FIRST WOMAN: I just have to get home for a minute. I left a load of laundry in the washer and it’s going to get all moldy.

LYSISTRATA: Forget your laundry! Go on back now.

FIRST WOMAN: I swear it will only take a second. I’m just going to throw it in the dryer, and I’ll be right back.

LYSISTRATA: What, do you think I’m stupid? No way are you going home.

FIRST WOMAN: What, you want me to let it get all black and smelly?

LYSISTRATA: You heard me.

SECOND WOMAN: Oh, I’m so sad. I left a whole sink full of dirty dishes, and I just know my kitchen is full up with roaches.

LYSISTRATA: So you’re trying to do dishes, huh? If I let you go, then everyone else will want to go home.

THIRD WOMAN: Oh my god! It’s coming. Get out of my way! I’m going to have a baby!

LYSISTRATA: How? You weren’t pregnant yesterday?

THIRD WOMAN: Well I am today. Please let me go find a doctor. Fast!

LYSISTRATA: What kind of stories are you telling me? This is a mighty hard baby.

THIRD WOMAN: That’s my son.

LYSISTRATA: What do you have up under there? That ain’t no baby. That’s a basketball.

THIRD WOMAN: Um, that’s so he’ll have something to do in the hospital. If he’s just lying around up in there, he’ll get bored.

LYSISTRATA: Excuses, excuses. Well, we can’t have you leaving here in your condition. You better get back inside and get to bed.

THIRD WOMAN: Oh no, I can’t. My bed’s too lumpy.

SECOND WOMAN: Oh, these women have the tv on all night and all day. I just can’t get one wink of sleep. I’m about to die, I’m so tired. I’ve got to get home.

LYSISTRATA: All you women better quit your lying. You can’t stand to be without men for a few days, that’s your problem. But, just think about it—if you want them, they want you just as bad. Just hold out a little bit longer. I called the Psychic Hotline, and Miss Cleo says we’re gonna win if we just stick together. You want to hear what she said?

FIRST WOMAN: Yes. Tell us what she said.

LYSISTRATA: Okay. If the chickens can all flock together in one nest, and they stay away from the roosters for a while, then everything’s going to turn out okay. The chickens will be in charge, and there will be no more KFC.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Wait. You’re saying that the women will be in control?

LYSISTRATA: But if the chickens start pecking at each other, and they try to fly away out of the barn, then there will be fried chicken for lunch and dinner every night this week. And scrambled eggs every morning.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Well, that about says it then. Miss Cleo was pretty clear about it. We better get back to work. We’ll just have to be brave about it.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Let me tell you a little story they used to tell me when I was little. There once was this dude named Melanion, and he hated marriage so much that he went off by himself to live on a mountain. He caught rabbits and cooked them over a fire, and he never came back. That’s how much he hated women. And I hate you old bags just as much.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: I’ve got a story for you, too. It’s about a man named Timon. He was mean as Jason and Freddy Krueger put together. He scared all his enemies to death, then he left town because he couldn’t stand to be around bad men. He hated the way they leave stinky socks on the floor and pass gas at the dinner table. But he loved women.

AN OLD MAN: You sweet little lady, no way would I kiss you.

A WOMAN: Don’t make me make you cry.

OLD MAN: Don’t make me kick you.

WOMAN: Let’s say I’ll break your jaw.

OLD MAN: I’m not scared of you.

WOMAN: Then how about if I kick you?

OLD MAN: Then I’ll see your behind.

WOMAN: You can look, but you can’t touch.

LYSISTRATA: Yo! Hurry up. Come here.

FIRST WOMAN: What’s up? What are you yelling about?

LYSISTRATA: Here comes a man all on fire with desire. He’s hot, too. Come on women, please stay strong.

FIRST WOMAN: Where he at?

LYSISTRATA: Over there by the carry-out.

FIRST WOMAN: I see him. Who is he?

LYSISTRATA: Whose man is that? Does anybody know him?

MYRRHINE: I do. That’s my husband. Hey, baby.

LYSISTRATA: Go get him then. Make him want you, but don’t you dare give in. Remember your promise.

MYRRINE: Don’t you worry. I’ll handle this.

LYSISTRATA: Okay, everyone else get back. I’m going to stay here and supervise.

CINESIAS: Oh my god. I’ve been waiting for my wife. I didn’t have no one to clean the house, couldn’t come home to a home-cooked meal or clean dishes, no one to wash my draws neither. Why must I be so abused? Hi baby. Let’s freak.

LYSISTRATA: Roll out. This is private property.

CINESIAS: Who is you?

LYSISTRATA: I’m not your wife, so you better tone it down. This is women’s territory.

CINESIAS: Well I’m a man. A full grown man at that.

LYSISTRATA: Get out of here, full grown man at that.

CINESIAS: Who is you to put me out? A full grown man at that.

LYSISTRATA: You. Full grown baby. Go ahead, make my day.

CINESIAS: Come on, shorty. I just want you to get my wife down here.

LYSISTRATA: Who, Myrrhine? This young drunk wants me to call Myrrhine. And who is you?

CINESIAS: I’m no drunk. Oh my god, woman, I’m her baby daddy, Cinesias, son of Peon.

LYSISTRATA: Oh! My bad! My man, what’s up? My best friend. Cinesias, your chicken wing won’t stop talking about you. I mean, she wouldn’t pick up a pack of Oodles of Noodles without saying ‘This is for my husband.’

CINESIAS: For real? You lying, dogg.

LYSISTRATA: For real, indeed, killa! I mean, if anyone talk about men, here she go ‘No doubt about it, my husband is good for lots of things, believe that.’ She don’t never stop tripping.

CINESIAS: Oh, son! Please, call her down here, young.

LYSISTRATA: Is you going to pay me, or what?

CINESIAS: If I got something and you want it, just ask.

LYSISTRATA: I feel you. Well, I’ll go holla at her.

CINESIAS: Hurry up about it. ASAP. Early, never late. I have no life since she left my house. This desire is just eating me.

MYRRHINE: I love him, I swear I do. But I won’t come. Forget him.

CINESIAS: Myrrhine, my baby. What is you talking about? Gurl, you know I love you now, stop trippin’. Come on down, let’s talk.

MYRRHINE: See ya.

CINESIAS: I called you to come down here. Ain’t you going to come?

MYRRHINE: Catch me on the flip side.

CINESIAS: I want you so bad it hurts.

MYRRHINE: Holla at you.

CINESIAS: How could you leave me and your child? Boy, call your mother.

CHILD: Yo, ma! Daddy want you. And hurry up so I can play my Play Station 2.

CINESIAS: Listen! With your trifling self, you haven’t washed my child. Don’t you feel bad for him? It’s six days now and you never washed that funky child or even fed the poor starving thing.

MYRRHINE: Boy, your father ain’t taking care of you. I guess he loves war more than he loves us.

CINESIAS: Get down here now for your child’s sake! If not for me, for your stinky, hungry child.

MYRRHINE: What’s a child without a mother. Okay, I’ll come down.

CINESIAS: How fine does she look? Her meanness only makes me want her more.

MYRRHINE: (to the child) You are so sweet, but your father is trying to piss me off. Come give your momma a hug, you sweet thing. You look just like your daddy.

CINESIAS: Don’t be a follower. Don’t follow behind your friends. Come home with me. Why make me suffer?

MYRRHINE: Hands off, whoever you are.

CINESIAS: Everything is going crazy back at the house.

MYRRHINE: You think I care?

CINESIAS: Since you’ve been gone, your child has been tearing the place up. Your house looks like an alley. Don’t you care about any of that?

MYRRHINE: Not much.

CINESIAS: So all my love for you, everything we had together, you’re going to throw that away. Don’t you miss me?

MYRRHINE: No, not at all. At least not til this war is over.

CINESIAS: If it’ll bring you home, we’ll make a treaty.

MYRRHINE: When you finish with your treaty, you let a sistah know what’s up. Till then, see ya!

CINESIAS: Can’t we just spend a little time together?

MYRRHINE: No. Nada. But I can’t say I don’t love you.

CINESIAS: Right. Can’t say that. So if you love me, why say no. It’s not drugs. Come on, baby boo.

MYRRHINE: You got to be kidding. Right here in front of my child?

CINESIAS: Take the kid home for me, Manes. See, the little youngin’s gone. There’s nothing to worry about. All I want is one little kiss.

MYRRHINE: Right here?

CINESIAS: Over there. There is no better chill out spot.

MYRRHINE: But, let me freshen up.

CINESIAS: Go to the creek.

MYRRHINE: But I promised everyone. Do you want to make a liar out of me?

CINESIAS: Man. I mean, woman. I’ll take full responsibility. It’s just a kiss.

MYRRHINE: But, I need to brush my teeth.

CINESIAS: Then I’ll have funky breath.

MYRRHINE: No, I don’t want my man to have funky breath.

CINESIAS: How she loves me.

MYRRHINE: Okay, find us a spot where no one can see. I’m going to brush my teeth.

CINESIAS: There is the spot. In the dumpster.

MYRRHINE: In the dumpster? That’s too disgusting.

CINESIAS: Just a kiss?

MYRRHINE: But you have crusty lips. Go get some chapstick.

CINESIAS: I just want you. I don’t want any chapstick.

MYRRHINE: I do. Now go.

CINESIAS: All you keep saying is ‘do this, do that.’ You want me to polish my shoes now?

MYRRHINE: Yes.

CINESIAS: Okay, that’s everything.

MYRRHINE: Now I need to fix my hair.

CINESIAS: Your hair looks fine.

MYRRHINE: And I need to buy me some clothes. I couldn’t find my boot cut jeans in the dark.

CINESIAS: Great god! What’s the matter with you? What do it matter?

MYRRHINE: Have no fear. I’m out of here. I’ll be back in no time.

CINESIAS: She treats me like Hercules. The lady will kill me for some clothes.

MYRRHINE: Now here is something fresher than that.

CINESIAS: Whatever.

MYRRHINE: Would you like me to check your underarms?

CINESIAS: No thanks.

MYRRHINE: Yes. Oh man. God, gee. Oooh wooo. Whether you like it or not, you need some deodorant.

CINESIAS: Can you be done?

MYRRHINE: Woo boy, you funky. Better thought, get in the shower.

CINESIAS: I’m ready. God, woman, just give me a kiss.

MYRRHINE: Okay, just let me get some cologne for you. Here, this one. Use a ton.

CINESIAS: Who was the dude that invented cologne?

MYRRHINE: Oh, what a scatterbrain I am. That wasn’t cologne. It was nail polish remover. Now you stink all over again.

CINESIAS: Sweet mama, please. Just kiss me.

MYRRHINE: All right, I’m just fixing my makeup. Y’all gonna make peace, right?

CINESIAS: I’ll think about it. (Myrrhine runs away.) That woman is killing me. She treats me like dirt. Now what am I going to do? I can’t go home to my filthy house with a pile of dishes in the sink and a kitchen full of carryout containers. I’ve got no one to talk to, no one to pay attention to me.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Ha, look at him. Boy, you got played. That woman made a fool out of you and left you here all alone.

CINESIAS: Oh my lord, it hurts so bad.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Well what did you think the old cow was going to do?

CINESIAS: Oh no you didn’t just call my fine wife a cow.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: She’s fine? Not that old cow. You must be crazy out of your mind. That roller ain’t no way fine. That cow and all of her ugly friends should all get run over by a Metrobus. It would make the world a better place.

A HERALD: Can anyone tell me where to find the woman who’s in charge here? I’ve got important news.

MAGISTRATE: What kind of important news do you have for the women?

HERALD: Don’t be stupid. I’m a messenger. You know that. And I come from Galveston Place about making peace.

MAGISTRATE: Sure you do. You must be hiding a gun in your jacket.

HERALD: I am not.

MAGISTRATE: I can tell you’re hiding something. What do you have under your jacket?

HERALD: Take a chill pill. All I have is a bunch of messages from the men of Southwest.

MAGISTRATE: How’s it going there anyhow?

HERALD: It’s a mess. All our friends are half starved from no decent cooking. We’ll die unless our wives come back.

MAGISTRATE: Where are your wives anyhow?

HERALD: They’re all off with Lampito and her crew. No woman anywhere in D.C. is home with her husband.

MAGISTRATE: So how are ya’ll making it?

HERALD: We can’t stand it any more. Our clothes all smell like dirty feet, we’re sick of eating Popeye’s chicken, and our kids are running around wild like pit bulls. No one’s wife will come back until we agree to stop the violence.

MAGISTRATE: Oh, I see. It’s a conspiracy of all the women. Go back to Southwest and get some of your leaders who can swear to a truce. I’ll get some of our men to come and meet them.

HERALD: Oh man, thanks alot. I’m out of here.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: You women are like wild animal. If a woman and a leopard got in a fight, I think ya’ll would win.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: You think I’m wild? Who’s the one making all the wars. And you could have had me on your side all along.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: I don’t think so. I still hate you.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Well, suit yourself. Still, I can’t leave you out here all tore up like that. People will laugh at you. Come on, let me iron that old shirt.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: I guess you’re right. The only reason I look like such a mess is I was mad at you.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Whew. Now at least you look like a man and no one will make fun of you. Um, and if you ain’t hurt my feelings so bad I would probably take that ugly looking bug out your eye.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Oh, there you go again, bugging me. Okay, please just get it out. I swear it’s been hurting my eye for the longest.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Well, I agree your manners ain’t no where right. Ew! It look nasty. It’s so big it ain’t a regular gnat, for sure.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Oh thank you. It’s been digging in my eye so long it about dug a hole in there. Now it’s gone my eyes are full of tears.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Poor baby. I’ll wipe them off you bad boy. Now gimme a kiss.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: No way!

CHORUS OF WOMEN: Yes way. Now, whether you like it or not.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Women! They make us so mad. But you know what they say: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. But we should stop hating and sing a song.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: We don’t want to fuss at ya’ll. Matter of fact, we’re trying to be nice to everyone. If any of ya’ll want some money, I got a fat roll of twenties in my purse. All you have to do is agree to a truce and no one has to pay me back, do you get what I’m saying? Look, I’m inviting a few of the neighbors over for dinner, I still got some food left from my check. And it’s a juicy ham in the frigerator. I’m going to bake it so it will be tender. So make sure you at my house today aaiight.

First take a bath and bathe ya kids, then ya’ll come over and don’t you worry, no one will...shut the door in your face.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Hear come them bighead folks from P.R. Harris wearing their burgundy and white tank tops trying to show their muscles. Waz up people from Ballou! Waz up wit’ ya’ll?

A LACONIAN (person from Trenton Park): You ain’t even gotta ask. You know how we look, or is you just blind?

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Yeah, ya’ll do look bad, and it’s getting worse.

LACONIAN: Man, I can’t believe this sugar. We gotta get to work. Just get your peeps, and we gon’ settle this.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Our crew got muscles, but they just like dogs. One minute they mean, but they can be tamed.

AN ATHENIAN (from Condon Terrace): Where Lysistrata at? She better have something sweet to say to us.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: Ain’t you stressed without yo’ girl?

ATHENIAN: Yes! But without peace, we got no hope to get our girls back. I’m getting fat from eating all these noodles.

LACONIAN: Hey ya’ll Condon Terrace crew. Ya’ll look worser than we do.

ATHENIAN: Hey, my homie. (to his friends) Good thing they ain’t see us when we really looked bad.

LACONIAN: So, what are you people doing around here?

ATHENIAN: We’re just looking for a little bit of peace.

LACONIAN: I heard that. Better holla at Lysistrata then. She tha only shorty brung us to our senses.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN: No need to call her. She heard you. Here she comes now.

ATHENIAN: Hey there, big Lysistrata. You my girl, I swear. We ready for peace. Now it’s time for you to show us how it’s done.

LYSISTRATA: No problem. Ladies, bring that Wahler Place crew up here. And be real nice about it. Don’t be acting all hard, like our husbands used to. Smile at them, like ladies should. And bring up everybody from MLK, too. And you people from the Farms, come on over. Long time, no see.

Now, everybody listen. I might be just one little woman, but I got good sense, and I’m on the honor roll too. So you know I know what’s going on, for real. Now, I’m not saying this is your fault or his fault. It’s everybody’s fault all just the same. Ya’ll shop at the same stores, eat at the same carry-outs, and play ball on the same courts, but still you be wanting to kill each other.

ATHENIAN: Tell it!

LYSISTRATA: You people from Brothers Place. You remember when ya’ll was friends with everyone. You used to go to school with the Congress Park crew and you hung out at the rec with the peeps from Southwest. What happened to make ya’ll hate each other so much?

LACONIAN: You so wrong, man.

ATHENIAN: Yeah, we wrong. Dang, she fine.

LYSISTRATA: And you Trenton Park crew. Don’t you remember when you used to have block parties and cookouts and hire a band and the whole world would come out and party all night? Why do you think everybody’s your enemy now?

LACONIAN: That’s right, Lysistrata.

ATHENIAN: Girl, you sure look good to me.

LYSISTRATA: Now, are all of ya’ll ready to act like friends again? Are you ready to stop the violence?

LACONIAN: I’m ready just as soon as he stops driving down my street with his lights out, scaring all the kids.

ATHENIAN: Ha, I was just messing wit’ ya’ll.

LACONIAN: Well, find someone else to mess with. Go out to Maryland somewhere and do it.

ATHENIAN: I will, if you stop tagging the wall in my alley every night.

LYSISTRATA: Do you agree?

LACONIAN: Yeah, I’ll just tag the back of the school instead.

ATHENIAN: Can we go now? I’m dying to get back home with my wife.

LYSISTRATA: That’s what you’re gonna do, just as soon as everyone agrees to this truce. So go talk to your homies.

ATHENIAN: What homies? We’re all in this together. We just want our women back.

LACONIAN: Yeah, that’s one thing every man can agree on.

LYSISTRATA: Okay, then go wash up and prepare for our party. The women have been cooking all day. There’s macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, greens and home made biscuits. When you get to the table, all you have to do is swear to keep the peace, then every man can go home with his wife.

ATHENIAN: C’mon man, where’s the bathroom.

LACONIAN: You the man. I’m following you.

CHORUS OF WOMEN: We got so much food here this whole crowd can’t eat it all. If anyone wants to take some home, I’ll fix a plate for you. Here, have some chocolate cake and some lemon meringue pie. And I’ve got homemade chocolate chip cookies too. And brownies. And rice crispie treats.

ATHENIAN: Man, what a party. That Galveston Place crew was off da hook. And Wheeler Creek knows how to party. Everybody’s just a lot more fun when there’s good music playing and lots of food to eat.

LACONIAN: My dawg. My homie. My best friend.

LYSISTRATA: Everything is going to be all right now. Condon Terrace crew, take your wives and go home, and MLK you do the same. I hope every man is happy with his wife and every wife is happy with her husband. Let’s all dance, everyone. And let’s not mess up like this ever again.

End

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