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Last Updated:  Monday, 3 March, 2003, 19:20 GMT
Sex boycott urged over war
The Blairs sleeping together (as it were)
That's close enough, say the campaigners
Women opposed to the war with Iraq have been urged to withhold sexual favours from their partners if the menfolk are pro-war.

On Monday thousands of actresses all over the world are taking part in a reading of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata, as part of a protest against the war.

In the play, penned by Aristophanes in 415BC, a group of Greek women, fed up with their warmongering husbands, go on a sex strike in a bid to end the endless conflicts.

Eventually the menfolk cave in and agree to a truce.

The Danish group have taken the interpretation quite literally and are encouraging women to slap on their chastity belts if their men are pro-war.

Bawdy play

The Lysistrata Project is planning around a thousand readings of Aristophanes' bawdy play in 56 countries.

Readings will raise money for charities working for peace and humanitarian aid in the Middle East and elsewhere.

In Denmark several of the country's leading actresses are at the forefront of the protest.

Actress Anne-Marie Helger told BBC News Online: "Mrs Blair, Mrs Bush and (the wife of the Danish PM) Mrs Rasmussen should stay out of their husbands' beds until they call their dogs off."

Basically we are saying No Peace, No Sex.
Rhea Leman, director
Some of Denmark's most famous TV and stage actresses, including Andrea Vagn Jensen, Lone Hertz, Lykke Nielsen and Trine Appel, are staging a production on Monday night of Aristophanes' Greek comedy Lysistrata.

Worldwide protest

Rhea Leman, an American theatre director who is directing Monday's play in Christianhavn near Copenhagen, said: "Basically we are saying No Peace, No Sex."

Ms Leman told BBC News Online: "The essence of the play is that if men go to war women should not go to bed with them. Until these men stop the war they will not get any sex."

She said: "What makes the play a comedy is that it is as hard for the women to go without sex as it is for the men. But they stick the strike out as a matter of principle."

Mark Greene, one of the world co-ordinators of the Lysistrata Project, said: "Each country and each group of performers is free to interpret the play in different ways.

"This is the first time I have heard of anyone actually suggesting a sex boycott, but then that's how these things start.

"We are limiting our advice on a sex boycott to the First Lady and Mrs Hussein (sic)," he quipped.

Actors' global war protest
03 Mar 03 |  Entertainment

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