MAY THE COCKS OF MY CRITICS ROT! (Muhahahaha!)

Shouting that at the top of my lungs from time to time is really quite liberating. Especially when you do it in a play…

In my second year at Uni in our Drama and Film Studies class we were doing Greek Dramas. We had to make a production of a Greek drama (modernised) for a measly meagre 10%.

The Greek Drama our group chose is called Lysistrata written by Aristophanes. The whole play/drama basically revolves around SEX. (And war). There is a lot of nice, sarcastic, biting snarks made by the chorus.

A really nice quote from the original play:

Magistrate: May I die a thousand deaths ere I obey one who wears a veil.

Lysistrata: If that’s all that troubles you, here take my veil, wrap it round your head, and hold your tongue. Then take this basket, put on a girdle, card wool, munch beans. The WAR shall be women’s business.

In Lysistrata, the women decide to do something extreme to convince the men to stop going to war. They are led by a very masculine-like woman named Lysistrata. She suggests the ultimatum that whenever the men come home (for some whoopee/sex) the women must tease them up until the point of erection and then refuse to give them sex. At one point in the play all the men have huge, painful erections. Somehow the men agree to end the war and all is well again.

It is about the war between the battle of the sexes. Lysistrata is the most masculine woman in the play. She creates male fear: whenever the woman’s body is masculinized or when a woman is thinking like a man and using their tactics against them. That is when it becomes very dangerous.

In those days the women were bound to the home and were banished from public life.   The men are the breadwinners, the soldiers, the politicians.

With our play we decided to reverse the roles. Where the women are in charge and the men are submissive. Our play revolves around a dinner party where the women celebrate their successes and the man worn himself to the bone behind in the kitchen and the home. In Afrikaans we have a very nice way of saying this: hy moes hom afsloof agter die kospotte.

Characters:

Lysistrata = Lisa

Kleonike/Cleopatra = Cleo

Marie Antoinette = Mary

Marilyn Monroe= Marilyn

John F. Kennedy = John

chorus = narrator

It is not Lisa but John that makes the plan to withhold sex from her to try to make her see that they should be equal in the marriage. We project the male gaze through Lisa’s eyes seeing John as a sexual object but at the same time also male gaze through the man’s eyes Mr. President/Marilyn Monroe scene. It is said that Lysistrata looks through the male gaze to her female counterparts in the original play.

The images of women in the play are commonly identified as being one of two basic types: positive roles, which depict women as independent, intelligent, and even heroic and a surplus of misogynistic roles commonly identified as the Bitch, etc.

Source: Sue-Ellen Case Classic Drag: The Greek Creation of Female Parts. (p. 317,318,319,320).

How I wish I still had a copy of the play. I can only recount some speeches from memory. I will try to portray it here:

With the dinner party we wanted 3 flashbacks into history to show how we ended up here.

The first flashback is when Cleopatra manipulated Marcus Anthony to go into war with her against Rome. In history she was the Queen of Egypt and Caesar’s mistress. Anthony was a soldier in the Roman camp.

Now to get back to the title of this post: I played Cleopatra. I had to rush upstage in a fury and shout out a line. The original line was: May the tongues of my critics rot. But after two weeks of continuous practice one night instead of saying tongues “cocks” slipped out. It sounded more powerful and has a great shock value to get the audience’s attention. Luckily we were at University. Penis and vagina have become regular terms in class.

This is totally unrelated but a very funny story considering the word “vagina”. I remember once after our very first assignment (we had to write an essay on The Piano – the film with Jodie Foster completely naked scene) was handed back to us how infuriated the lecturer (good old Chris Broodryk) was when most of the students referred to “vaginas” as “the downstairs area.” I will never forget what he said: “Just use vaginas already!” Haha! I remember thinking: Okay, whatever you say.

Anyway back to the play:

My speech was derived of some of Shakespeare’s Marc Anthony and Cleopatra play. Here’s what I remember how it went:

Cleopatra (shouting off stage): WHAT??!!!

Cleopatra (runs in fury up stage): MAY THE COCKS OF MY CRITICS ROT!

Anthony (asks lazily): What, my love?

Cleopatra: If you really love as much as you say you do, show me your love by helping me conquer Rome.

Anthony: But why? Don’t be silly, what has Rome ever done to you?

Cleopatra (faking it): Oh, never has a queen been so betrayed as I have been. I knew from the first it would be this way (sob).

Anthony (gets up, upset): What’s the matter?

Cleopatra (pushes him away): Please stand further away from me. It was wild insanity to believe promises made by the mouth and not the heart, such false vows are broken as soon as they are spoken.

Anthony: (tries to coaxe her): Most sweet Queen…

Cleopatra: No, don’t try to excuse yourself.  You saw eternity in my lips and eyes and happiness in the arch of my eyebrows. Then, all my parts seemed angelic to you. My features are still beautiful – or else you are the greatest liar by overpraising them.

Anthony: Then let Rome be washed away in the Tiber and let the great empire fall.

End of first flashback. Ahem. Yes very dramatic!

It was hard to portray Cleopatra, because I had to act as if I was really angry and shout the whole time. I hate conflict and being too loud. I don’t even want to use my hooter while driving. But somehow they got me angry (sick and tired) and it worked.

Back to the play:

Back in present. Lisa and John can’t stop being snarky with each other.

Lisa: John, no other woman will ever grab YOUR balls.

John: Lisa! My stick will cut short your days!

Lisa chokes on her wine and John rushes into the kitchen (offstage). There is more, but I can’t for the life of me remember it anymore.

2nd flashback: Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI

I can remember almost the whole speech. I couldn’t tear myself away when we practiced this part. Even though I had to help Linda change behind the scenes. Sometimes it was a scramble. Here’s the speech:

Marie Antoinette: Sigh.

Louis: (cannot remember what he says here something about unlocking your chest.)

MA: Oh, Louis! I’ve been waiting for you to ask me that for years!

L: Well then show me.

M: (starts to undress).

L (spins around, his back to her): What are you doing?

M: I’m showing you.

L: Yes, well, shall we discuss this before you undress for bed.

M: Discuss what?

L: Why, this chest that needs unlocking. Have you lost the key?

MA: Oh never mind.

L: What is it’s size? I’ll help you find it.

MA: I don’t know its size! And I don’t think you’ll ever find it!

L: Why not?

MA: Because I’ve been looking for years!

L: But my love, we shall find it.

MA: Louis! The people of France will sooner go to war over cake then you finding the key to unlock my chest!

End of 2nd flashback.

Oh yes. If you read very carefully, you will see we’ve used puns and ambiguities with the words. Chest also means breast. Key is a symbol for penis. The whole argument is about not getting sex. But King Louis is too daft to see this. There is also a reference to the “Let them eat cake” speech.

Now, I’ve always felt that Marie Antoinette has been treated unfairly by history. Louis was the real culprit. If you don’t believe me let’s go back to history and what really happened:

Marie Antoinette got married when she was a mere 15 years old! In those days it was expected of you to consummate (start having sex and babies) and produce a male heir as soon as possible. But there was a problem. Their marriage haven’t been consummated for 7 long years!

Marie-Antoinette said she feared her mother more than love her.  The Dauphine criticized by her mother for her inability to “inspire passion” in her husband, who rarely slept with her and had no interest in doing so, being more interested in his hobbies such as lock-making and hunting.

To make up for the lack of affection from her husband and the endless criticism of her mother, Marie Antoinette began to spend more on gambling and clothing, with cards and horse-betting, as well as trips to the city and new clothing, shoes, promade and range.  She was expected by tradition to spend money on her attire, so as to outshine other women, being leading example of fashion of Versailles.

It was due to Joseph’s intervention (her brother), on 30 August 177, the marriage was officially consumenated.  Eight months later it was suspected that the queen was finally pregnant.

There is also no real evidence that she ever uttered the words: “Let them eat cake.” It is suspected that it took hold through a satirical cartoon in the newspapers and all her critics were only too happy to oblige and create a myth.  I think it’s because no one really understood her or knew the real story is that why it caught on like a wild fire. It’s so easy to believe something bad about something.

Anyway, the last flashback is between President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.

All I can remember about this scene is when Hedda (who played Marilyn) had to sing the husky Birthday song to Gerrie (her best friend) she kept bursting out laughing. It must have  been awkward to play lovers with your best friend.

Just a quick note: Gerrie was the only guy in our group (there were only 6 guys in total in class). He had to play all the male roles.

The day of the play:

We decided (I suggested) to call our play “Hoity Toity”. We made nipple cupcakes (pink cupcakes with pink jelly tots or those hard pellets that looks like rat poison) to promote our play. (Ah! Those were the days my friend!) We only received 8 out of 10 because certain petty people (the other group who also used the play Lysistrata) didn’t want us to do better than them. But enough of that.

NOW

So whenever some dick decides to try bring me down I’ll be seriously tempted to shout it in his face but in case it is my boss, I will come do it on my blog.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Actually my neck is very sore…

About dada4nonsense

I am a 23 year old (at heart) who loves anything nonsensical

Posted on May 7, 2013, in Notes and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on MAY THE COCKS OF MY CRITICS ROT! (Muhahahaha!).

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: