Open Letter From Lysa And The Freeborn Dames Writer

Published in Arts  
'Lysa And The Freeborn Dames' 'Lysa And The Freeborn Dames'

Lysa King is young, determined and angry.

After a year away, she returns to find that revolution has not reached her home soil in the wake of the Women's Marches, so she decides to take matters into her own hands.

'Lysa And The Freeborn Dames' at La Boite Theatre Company follows a young woman on the cusp of political awakening, led by a fierce chorus of senior women.

Here, the show's Writer Claire Christian pens an open letter about the show.

“One of my favourite protest signs from the women’s marches this year was held by a woman, in her 70s, and it read, 'I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit'.

In 411 BC Aristophanes wrote a bawdy anti-war comedy, where the central gag was the idea of a smart and powerful woman stopping a war. The play, titled 'Lysistratra', written by a man, for men and consisting mostly of dick jokes, postured that the only power women could have was through sex, and that if they could abstain then, and only then, would men listen and change would happen.

The thing I find most heartbreaking is that we’re still protesting the same shit Aristophanes joked about so many centuries later. 'Lysa and The Freeborn Dames' isn’t a re-telling of this story, but instead a contemporary re-imagining set in 2017 where the idea of a woman with power is no longer a cause for laughter.

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It shouldn’t be noteworthy to see a diverse, queer, female led creative team. It shouldn’t be noteworthy to watch eight women diverse in age, culture, body and sexuality, on stage. But it is. These things are worth noting because they’re not the norm.

Heaven knows middle-aged straight white guys have had enough air time telling stories about themselves, so I’m glad it’s finally time for the other to have their chance.

At the heart of 'Lysa And The Freeborn Dames' is a young woman pissed off at the way things are and believes wholeheartedly that better is possible. When I started writing this story, I believed it was worth exploring because complacency around things that are unjust or make us angry is when we should worry.

Margaret Mead once said 'never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has'.

'Lysa And The Freeborn Dames' are that group; desperately committed to change their rural Australian town, even if it is just a little bit.'

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This is a work about legacy, about the women who have come before and laid the path for what’s possible now. As a society, we’re finally waking up and recognising that things aren’t nearly as blue and pink as we’ve been led to believe.

What can you expect from 'Lysa And The Freeborn Dames'?

Like any good sport action movie, this play roots for the underdog, cheers on team spirit and slow-motion celebrations. Except I hate almost every sport. So 'Lysa And The Freeborn Dames' is my version of that, like Aristophanes meets 'Mighty Ducks' with girls, glitter, gender politics and Gatorade. Set to a cracking soundtrack, 'Lysa And The Freeborn Dames' throws out jokes, magic and lets you into a world where the ‘flying-v’ takes on an entirely different meaning... And in case you haven’t seen Mighty Ducks, the ‘v’ stands for vaginas.”
– Claire Christian

'Lysa And The Freeborn Dames' plays La Boite Theatre Company from 21 July-11 August.


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