In January 2003, two Manhattan activists, Sharron Bower and Kathryn Blume, conceived the idea of staging a public reading of Aristophanes's seminal anti-war comedy, +Lysistrata, as a protest against the preemptive strike on Iraq and subsequent U.S. occupation. Word of their doings caught fire and spread to numerous additional dramatic ensembles, around the country - so that when the date of the Bower-Blume reading finally arrived, on March 3, 2003, it was echoed by no less than 1,000 other dramatic ensembles, in 59 countries, performing simultaneous productions of the Aristophanes play. With his nonfiction film The Lysistrata Project, documentarist Michael Patrick Kelly etches out a moving portrait of Bower and Blume during the time surrounding these events, and thus demonstrates how grassroots activism and art can intersect to form the basis of effective social protest.
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