Module: Intertextuality: Story, Genre, Craft
PART A: A piece of creative writing in any genre, in response to one or more of the case studies presented in the module (and to individual reading and research following on from the case study materials). This could be a response to one or more core texts, or an adaptation or ‘version’ of a self-chosen text, as negotiated with the tutor (3, 000 words) [60%]
PART B: An analysis of the intertextual relationships between your creative writing for Part A and two or more of the literary texts studied, demonstrating an understanding of key concepts introduced in the module, and their impact on your own work. You should refer to at least one of the Case Studies in detail. (2,000 words) [40%]
PART A: LYSISTRATA
Prior to the performance, a projection screen is lowered Downstage Centre. As spectators take their seats their attention should be drawn to a quote projected onto this screen:
“The plot requires us to assume that consensual marital sex was the only kind of sex available to an Athenian Male, or at least the only kind that would give him worthwhile satisfaction; well-known alternatives are simply ignored. – Alan H. Sommerstein”.
The projection screen is lifted to reveal a single shelving unit stocked with 28 varieties of Tomato Ketchup. An Old Man enters pushing a shopping trolley, he stops to browse, an Old Woman follows ticking off a shopping list.
Old Man The question is: to squirt, or not to squirt?
Old Woman Ay?
Old Man There’s all this talk about squirting these days. I prefer the ol’ glass bottles with the screw lid. I like banging on the end of it, you get more out. It’s more satisfying that way.
Old Woman But you always make such a mess dear. Last week you as good as put your back out doing it.
Old Man (Distracted.) Oh, look love. Fiery Chilli.
Old Woman You fool. That’s too hot for you.
Old Man Maybe I’d like to spice it up a little. Go for something a bit different?
Old Woman Oh, bloody hell. What’s wrong with the regular red sauce, the one you’ve always had, the one you’ve had every week at home for the past forty years?
Old Man Maybe I fancy a change.
Old Woman Choose a bloody sauce.
The Old Woman continues with her weekly shop, and wanders offstage.
Old Man I can’t. There’s too much choice.
The Old Man cannot decide between two sauces, he places both in the trolley.
Lysistrata’s Apartment. Stereotypical pieces of furniture are used to suggest three different rooms: Downstage Left a bedroom, Downstage Right a Living Room, and Upstage Right a
Kitchen with a door to enter/exit.
Husband holds a large overnight bag. He puts on his coat.
Husband Have fun tonight. Don’t miss me too much.
Lysistrata Don’t go.
Husband Next weekend I’m all yours, I promise.
Lysistrata You say that every weekend.
Husband This time I promise, okay?
They kiss each other goodbye. The Husband opens the door. Calonice is on the other side of the door about to knock, holding two heavy shopping bags.
Husband You alright, Calonice?
Calonice Oh, hiya. Working away again, I see?
Husband Unfortunately so.
Calonice enters and greets Lysistrata.
Husband (To Lysistrata.) Have fun! See you, Sunday.
Lysistrata See you, Sunday.
Calonice slams the door shut. She empties her shopping bags immediately, and carries four bottles of wine into the living room.
Calonice Come on then, spill it.
Calonice What’s he done, now?
Lysistrata He hasn’t done anything.
Calonice pours two large glasses of wine and gives one to Lysistrata.
It’s just, loving him is such a battle. It’s like we are at war and the peace needs to be restored.
Calonice He’s a twat.
Lysistrata He is. But he’s has been my whole life for the last five years. He was the one. He is the one.
Calonice Every relationship has its difficulties. You’ll work through it. You’ll make a truce.
Lysistrata He just gives me so much ammunition to use against him. The other day we had sex and he just got straight up afterwards and made egg and soldiers.
Calonice Egg and soldiers?
Calonice And you don’t like egg and soldiers?
Lysistrata It’s not that I don’t like egg and soldiers. I do like egg and soldiers. It’s just, give me a cuddle or something. Tell me that you love the way my hair gets messy after we shag. Give me something. Anything. Don’t just walk into the kitchen and make egg and fucking soldiers.
(Calonice stares at her blankly.)
God. Why am I attacking him like this?
Calonice You’re allowed to find someone frustrating after five years, you know.
Lysistrata It’s more than that. I think he’s falling out of love with me. Like, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, and I can hear him watching porn in the living room. I know that it shouldn’t annoy me. I know that everyone does it, but it’s not like I don’t make advances, I do, I make advances, and he retreats. He retreats away from me to those disgusting unobtainable women on a fucking screen.
Calonice That’s the issue nowadays, we can have it whenever we want, and however we want it: girl on girl, man on man, BBW, BDSM.
Lysistrata But what is sex without love?
Calonice Different. Exciting.
Calonice Wrong makes it exciting.
Lysistrata It makes me want to stab his eyes out with a bayonet. When did sex become so important? I just want to talk to him like we used to. We
used to stay up all night and talk about things.
Calonice Then don’t have sex with him.
Calonice Stop having sex with him.
Lysistrata Why would I do that?
Calonice To see, you know? If, apart from the one time a week you have sex –
Lysistrata Two times.
Calonice – see if there is anything else left between you two. Force him to talk to you. Force him to give you more.
Lysistrata contemplates Calonice’s proposal.
Lysistrata’s apartment, later. Three of the four bottles of wine are empty.
Lysistrata Sex is no more!
Calonice Death to sex!
Lysistrata From this day, forth.
Lysistrata Sex –
Lysistrata – is –
Lysistrata – renounced.
Calonice You must take an oath!
Calonice goes to the kitchen cupboard. There is the sound of glass breaking. She brings out a large bowl, places it on the table, and pours wine into it.
Repeat after me. I will not allow my husband.
Lysistrata I will not allow my husband.
Calonice To approach me in a state of erection.
Lysistrata To approach me in a state of erection.
Calonice And I will live at home in unsullied chastity.
Lysistrata And I will live at home in unsullied chastity.
Calonice I’ll tease him with sexy underwear from Ann Summers.
Lysistrata I’ll tease him with sexy underwear from Ann Summers
Calonice But I will never raise my legs towards the ceiling.
Lysistrata But I will never raise my legs towards the ceiling.
Calonice Or adopt the wheelbarrow position.
Lysistrata Or adopt the wheelbarrow position.
Calonice And if I abide by this oath, may I drink by this cup.
Lysistrata And if I abide by this oath, may I drink by this cup.
Lysistrata and Calonice down the wine out of the bowl.
Lysistrata is tidying up. She puts the wine bottles in the bin. She turns off the lights and goes to bed.
Unable to sleep, she opens her laptop, the light of the screen encompasses the stage.
The projection screen is lowered. We see a projection of the laptop screen, as if we have zoomed in.
Lysistrata goes to google.
Lysistrata types in Ann Summers, and goes to the ‘most popular’ tab.
The projection screen is still lowered, downstage centre. In the bedroom, Lysistrata poses in front of a mirror in a black corset from Ann Summers. Her laptop is open on the bed.
She puts on a dressing gown.
The projection screen illuminates, it shows Lysistrata’s Facebook Page. She is talking to Calonice on ‘Messenger’.
Calonice types: So, is tonight the big night?
Lysistrata replies: Yep. The corset is on. He should be home any second now.
Calonice sends: (Person raising both hands in celebration emoji) and then types: I can’t believe you have gone a whole month without sex.
Lysistrata replies: Never again. (Weary face emoji, aubergine emoji).
A man called Cinesias pops up on ‘Messenger’. His profile picture is of him, his wife, and his child.
Cinesias types: Hey Beautiful. Fancy a shag?
Lysistrata shuts the laptop.
The projection screen raises.
We hear Husband opening the door with his keys. Lysistrata takes off her dressing gown and stands seductively by the door.
The door opens.
Husband walks straight past Lysistrata and into the bedroom. He returns and sits on the sofa with his head on his hands.
Husband We need to talk.
Lysistrata walks over to Husband, and starts to kiss his neck.
Lysistrata I don’t want to talk. We’ve done too much talking.
Husband (Pushing Lysistrata away.) Lysistrata, listen. We need to talk.
Lysistrata tries to straddle her Husband on the settee, but he pushes her off.
Husband Stop it. You’re embarrassing yourself.
Lysistrata What the fuck is wrong with you?
Husband I can’t do this anymore.
Lysistrata This? What are you on about, this?
Husband This. Us.
Lysistrata Don’t be so ridiculous, I –
Husband – I’m not being ridiculous. I have gone over and over this in my mind. I should have done this a long time ago. I don’t feel the same anymore. I need you to listen to me. I can’t do this anymore.
Lysistrata Have I been annoying you? Because that’s normal after five years of marriage. You annoy me. Sometimes –
Husband – you’re not annoying me –
Lysistrata – I sit there and think, oh god, he eats so loudly, how am I going to be with this person for all of eternity when he eats this loudly? But it’s fine, because I love you, so I work past it. We just need to work past it.
Husband You’re not annoying me.
Lysistrata Is it the sex thing?
Husband What sex thing?
Lysistrata You know, that I stopped having sex with you.
Husband You deliberately stopped having sex with me?
Lysistrata Well I wanted us to go back to how we used to be. When we talked to each other, and enjoyed each other, and Calonice told me to stop having sex with you to see if that helped.
Husband Fuckin’ ell.
Lysistrata Is there someone else?
Husband What? No.
Lysistrata Don’t lie to me.
Husband There isn’t anyone else.
Lysistrata Oh god –
Husband – Lysistrata stop making things up, there’s not –
Lysistrata – You didn’t even notice that I wasn’t having sex with you, did you? Because you were sleeping with someone else. Oh, my god.
Husband You’re crazy.
Lysistrata All this working away. You haven’t been working away.
Husband I have been working away.
Lysistrata All this time I thought I was bringing us closer together. That by taking the sex away you would speak to me, and we’d fall back madly in love. You need to tell me. Is there someone else?
Husband (He struggles.) Yes.
Lysistrata breaks down.
Husband I thought that I was losing you. That I’d already lost you. You pushed me away. I wanted someone to love me, to give me attention –
Lysistrata How can you do that to me?
Husband – I can’t help it. I guess I’m just a product of my environment.
Lysistrata Don’t give me that bullshit. I get people asking me to fuck them all the time, and here’s a shocking end to that story: I don’t! I tell them no. Even when it’s shit between us. I stay with you. I choose you.
Husband Should love be a choice?
Lysistrata Yes. And you chose me! Five years ago, you chose me.
Husband Well, maybe that was a mistake.
Lysistrata Who? How long?
Husband Lysistrata don’t ask me this –
Lysistrata Fucking answer me. How long?
Husband About a month.
Lysistrata A month.
Husband Four weeks.
Lysistrata We’ve been together for five years, and I stop having sex with you for five minutes, and you already feel the need to go off and find someone else? Are you eighteen-years-old? Where did you find her, in Macdonald’s car park at one in the morning?
Do you love her?
Husband I don’t know.
Lysistrata Well can you kindly figure it out please, fucking hell?
Husband I enjoy her, more than I enjoy you.
Lysistrata All I can hear is someone telling you to do it, do it, do it. A voice whispering in your ear, in the dark, telling you which way, and white sheets, and gasping.
Husband Look, people split up all the time.
Lysistrata Are you fucking kidding me? I’m not worried about the fucking practicalities. What about the ethics? What about the love? We are married. You took an oath. You promised to be faithful to me. What about the life we have built together? How can you throw all this away?
Husband Lys –
Lysistrata – Do you still love me? I’ll forgive you. We’ll get past this. Do you still love me?
Lysistrata breaks down again.
Lysistrata Get out.
Husband Lys –
Lysistrata – Get out.
Husband (Walking towards the door.) I’ll come and get my things in a couple of days.
Lysistrata What? Are you going to live with her?
Husband Yes. Probably.
Husband opens the door. Lysistrata runs across the apartment slams it shut, keeping them both inside.
Lysistrata Don’t leave me.
Husband For fuck’s sake. You just told me to go.
Lysistrata Please. Please don’t leave me.
Husband You need to get off me.
Lysistrata I’ll do anything. Please.
Husband I’ll be back in a couple of days for my things.
Lysistrata No. Don’t do this. Don’t do this to me. I cannot believe that I can feel this for you and you feel nothing.
The Husband leaves the apartment.
Do you feel nothing?
Downstage Left: a small mound of logs, as if to start a fire. Downstage Right: An Old Woman sits on a sofa reading a newspaper. There is a bucket of water at her feet.
The Old Man walks behind the Old Woman carrying an (unfortunately placed) small log and places it on the pile. He walks back past the settee.
Some moments later, he returns with an (unfortunately placed) medium sized log and places it on the pile. He walks back past the settee.
He returns with an (unfortunately placed) large log and places it on the pile. This time he lights the fire and starts to scream in pain having burnt his hand.
The Old Woman picks up the bucket of water, goes to the fire and puts it out, soaking the Old Man too.
She sits down on the sofa and picks up the newspaper.
Old Woman Fucking idiot.
There is a split stage. Lysistrata has barricaded herself into the apartment by placing furniture in front of the door. She is sitting on a pile of tissues, crying hysterically
Husband is in the apartment block corridor, banging on the door.
Husband Lysistrata, for the last time, open the door.
Neighbour (Poking her head out of her apartment.) I’ve called the police, you know! They’re on their way! All this banging, and shouting, and crying, has gone one too long!
Husband You need to let me in.
Lysistrata You’re not taking your things.
Husband Lysistrata, come on.
Lysistrata You’re not taking your things.
Husband Lysistrata, stop this.
A Policeman enters.
Policeman What’s going on here, pal.
Husband My wife has barricaded herself inside of our apartment.
Policeman So, you’re trying to get in –
Husband No, I’m trying to get my things out.
Policeman – does your key not work?
Husband Key? She’s got half the fuckin’ furniture against the door.
Policeman Alright pal, there’s no need to swear.
(He tries to open the door.)
What’s your wife’s name?
Policeman Lysistrata, are you there? I’m a policeman. Can you let us in, please?
Lysistrata He’s going to take his things. He can’t take his things.
Policeman No one is going to take anything from you, Lysistrata.
Husband For God’s sake, open the door Lys.
The Policeman steps to one side. The Husband slumps down the wall defeatedly.
Policeman (Communicating with another officer.) You, alright. Yep. I’m at Elgar Court. Same old story. Marital break-up. Female has barricaded herself in the apartment. Bangin’ of drums and all manner. Can you come down, please? Yes, we’re going to have to use some force to get in.
Lysistrata (Opening the door slightly.) There’s no need, I’ll open the door.
The Husband does not look at Lysistrata as he enters. He goes straight into the bedroom and begins to collect his things.
Lysistrata starts to hit the wall violently. The Policeman restrains her, for her own safety.
Policeman There’s no need to do silly things like that now, is there?
Lysistrata How dare you come here! You think you’re so bold coming here and looking me in my face. Shamelessness! Shamelessness! What use do I have for life? I would find release in death. I would find release in death.
Making his way back through the apartment, the Husband trips over some toilet paper and falls into the kitchen counter, knocking the fruit bowl over. Various pieces of fruit fall across the floor.
Lysistrata (deranged.) That’s it! Take a peach, go on. Eat all the fucking peaches!
The Husband looks at Lysistrata worryingly, and then heads out of the door.
Some months later. Lysistrata’s apartment has some subtle changes (new cushions, flowers in the kitchen etc.). Lysistrata comes out of the bedroom with pyjamas on. She lights a candle and puts the tele on. She lies down on the sofa. She looks content.
The doorbell rings. Lysistrata looks at the door.
The doorbell rings again. Lysistrata gets up reluctantly and opens the door. It is her husband.
Can I come in?
After some time, Lysistrata reluctantly steps aside.
Husband (Walking around the apartment.) The apartment looks nice. New cushions? It’s like I was never here.
Lysistrata Why are you here?
Husband I was hoping we could talk –
Lysistrata Talk about what.
Husband – about things. I’m really sorry. I have never apologised to you, and I want you to know that I’m sorry.
And that I miss you.
Lysistrata Why are you doing this now?
Husband I miss you so much. I miss the smile you give me in the morning. I miss your hand reaching out to me for hug. I want you to be mine, and always be by my side –
Lysistrata Oh god, stop. It’s been months. You haven’t called. You haven’t text. I was waiting for you to send me divorce papers. And now you turn up to my house doing this?
Husband – we should be together.
The Husband begins to kiss Lysistrata. At first, she doesn’t respond, then she does so almost involuntarily.
Husband I love you Lysistrata. Please, please forgive me?
The Husband continues to kiss Lysistrata. He takes her into the bedroom. They get under the covers and begin to have sex. Lysistrata lies with her head on the pillow and looks out towards the audience.
Lysistrata (Whispering, as if to herself.) I will submit passively, and not thrust back. I will submit passively, and not thrust back. I will submit passively and not thrust back.
The lights are off in the apartment. Lysistrata can be heard, and seen slightly, as she potters around.
She sits down, and opens her laptop. The light from the screen illuminates her face.
The projection screen is lowered, Downstage Centre. It displays the laptop screen, as in Scene 5.
Lysistrata opens the web browser, and goes to Google.
She types in the search bar: D I V O R C E. The search suggestions should be displayed on the screen as she types.
Word Count: 3295