Scene 3

(LYSISTRATA enters from Acropolis)

CHORUS (WOMEN): Oh, glorious leader, why do you look so troubled?

LYSISTRATA: It’s the frail hearts of women that trouble me so.

CHORUS (WOMEN): What is it? What’s wrong?

LYSISTRATA: It’s true, it’s true!

CHORUS (WOMEN): Tell your troubles to your friends, great queen!

LYSISTRATA: It’s difficult to talk about, but impossible to hide.

CHORUS (WOMEN): Tell us, don’t protect us from this calamity.

LYSISTRATA: In brief—the women want to get laid.

CHORUS (WOMEN): Oh Zeus! Oh Zeus!

LYSISTRATA: What’s the point of calling for Zeus? I can no longer keep the minxes inside. They slip out everywhere. One of them was digging a hole out next to the shrine to Pan. Another tried to climb down by rope. A third has disappeared altogether. A fourth attempted to have a giant sparrow fly her out, so she could visit some stud. I had to drag her back by her hair. They make up all sorts of lies.

(WOMAN 1 tries to sneak out, but LYSISTRATA sees her.)

There’s one of our deserters. Hey, you there. What’s your hurry?

WOMAN 1: I just need to run home for a second. I have some fine imported wool, there, which I’m afraid is being eaten up by moths.

LYSISTRATA: Moths indeed! Go back inside.

WOMAN 1: I’ll come back immediately, I promise. I just need to spread it out on the bed.

LYSISTRATA: Forget it, stay here. You’re not going to spread out anything on that bed today.

WOMAN 1: Then I have to leave my wool to be ruined?

LYSISTRATA: If necessary, yes.

(WOMAN 2 tries to sneak out.)

WOMAN 2: Oh, my flax! Alas for flax!

LYSISTRATA: Here’s another, using flax as her excuse. Come, come, get back here.

WOMAN 2: In a moment, just a moment. I’m very worried about my flax, you see. I forgot to comb its little clit, I mean to comb it a little bit.

LYSISTRATA: If you start that sort of combing, every woman here will want to comb her flax as well.

(WOMAN 3 tries to sneak out.)

WOMAN 3: Oh, great goddess, please grant that I not give birth till I have left this hallowed ground.

LYSISTRATA: What’s this act?

WOMAN 3: The baby’s going to pop out any minute!

LYSISTRATA: But you weren’t pregnant yesterday.

WOMAN 3: Well, I am today. Oh, Lysistrata, let me find a midwife, quickly!

LYSISTRATA: What’s this tale that you are telling? Your stomach feels hard as a rock.

WOMAN 3: Great heavens, it’s a boy!

(The helmet comes tumbling out from under her clothes.)

LYSISTRATA: Not unless he’s made of bronze. Oh, you foolish woman. You’ve stolen this helmet right from off a sacred statue, so you could look pregnant.

WOMAN 3: And so I am, by Zeus!

LYSISTRATA: Then what’s this helmet for?

WOMAN 3: I didn’t want to give birth on hallowed ground, so I thought I could squat over this helmet, like pigeons do.

LYSISTRATA: That’s the most ridiculous excuse I’ve ever heard. Stay here. You have to, anyway. You have to wait three days before you can name your bouncing, baby helmet.

WOMAN 3: But I can’t sleep here. Do you know there are snakes that guard the temple?

WOMAN 1: And the owls hoot all night. I will die from lack of sleep.

LYSISTRATA: Enough of this! I know you miss your husbands. But they miss you as well. They are spending terrible nights without us. I am sure of it. And I have an oracle right here which assures us we will be victorious in the end.

WOMAN 2: Tell us what it says.

LYSISTRATA: Then everyone, be silent. “Forsooth, there shall come a day when the swallows are gathered together upon a hilltop, and they shall shun boinking and keep themselves chaste, and yea—

WOMAN 2: Yay!

(WOMAN 2 realizes this wasn’t meant to be a cheer and looks embarassed.)

LYSISTRATA: Zeus himself shall put those that were under over and those that were over under…”

WOMAN 1: So we’ll be on top?

LYSISTRATA: “But if these swallows should bicker and try to flee their hilltop and make up stories about flax, all will say that there is no baser bird than the swallow, forevermore.”

WOMAN 2: Wow, that’s a very specific prophesy!

LYSISTRATA: Great Zeus, let us not falter in our resolve. Oh friends, dear friends, let us return to our task. It would be shameful indeed to fail such a great oracle.

(They all go back into the Acropolis.)

© Edward Einhorn 2015