"Seek peace, and puruse it." -Psalm 34, 13

Host Suzanne Kryder talks with actor Kathryn Blume, star of her own one-woman show called "The Accidental Activist." Blume's show dramatizes the development of the Lysistrata Project which she co-founded in 2003. Thanks to Blume's efforts, over 1,000 readings of the Greek play about women withholding sex from their husbands to end war took place around the globe in March of 2003. Blume discusses the artist's role in promoting political and social awareness. The program includes excerpts from her one-woman show as well as a clip from a reading of Lysistrata recorded at KUNM.

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What's the most common impediment to activism?

Kathryn Blume: Fear. More than anything else. And then fear hooks into overwhelm. When you see the scope of a problem...and you think, "Oh my god. That's too overwhelming. There's no way I can get involved with that and what will happen to me if I try? And what will happen if I fail? Because in all likelihood I'm going to fail and that'll destroy me personally and I couldn't bear that. And so I think I'll have a cookie and watch TV." You know it's very easy for us to fall into that place.

So what is the creative's role in activism?

Blume: I think for people who have cultivated their creativity as the primary focus of their lives. They have the capability to imagine the world as it could be, and then to express that imagining for other people...without getting caught up in the practicality issues. When others say "well, how could that be possible, because this, this and this needs to be in place and then this needs to happen over there." We (the artists) say, "You know what, I'm just going to provide the vision of what's possible."

In THE ACCIDENTAL ACTIVIST, Kathryn Blume, Co-Founder of the Lysistrata Project, recounts the story of her astonishing inability to save the world. In a show that's part fact, part fantasy, part caffeine-induced madness, this irreverent and irrepressible performer imagines how she might possibly make a difference on a planet that couldn't care less.

Laced with self-depricating wit, impossibly optimistic socio-political observations, and deft sketches of determined, defiant women from around the world, THE ACCIDENTAL ACTIVIST is one lone person's on-going search for a good reason to get out of bed.

THE STORY IN GREATER DETAIL It's November 2002. Kathryn, an exuberant, articulate, frustrated, and very funny out-of-work actress and environmentalist with gargantuan dreams of both stardom and world-salvation, gets particularly hot under the collar about the Bush administration's planned war on Iraq. She casts about unsuccessfully for a way to both jump-start her career and forestall the impending war. On the verge of total surrender, she unintentionally kicks off a global act of theatrical dissent: the Lysistrata Project - world-wide readings of the ancient Greek anti-war comedy "Lysistrata." After two months of 18-hour days, Lysistrata Project is a raging success, with over 1000 simultaneous readings in 59 countries and in all 50 states. But after the project is over, Kathryn still doesn't have an acting career and the U.S. goes to war anyway. Ultimately, she has to learn to redefine her definitions of success and learn to take active and attainable responsibility for the course of her life.

What is it about Lysistrata that still resonates today?

Blume: Because war and sex are pretty eternal. And I think it proves that all those issues between gender that we think of as modern or endemic to our own time, they go back as far as humanity does and the fact that we really haven't dealt with any of those issues. So I think it's the universal nature and the thorny dillemma of war. And the fact that conflict and violence seem endemic to the human condition and it's an extremely challenging thing to overcome. And that there are always people in power and always people who don't have power. The struggle to make your voice heard also seems very universal. Lysistrata is about people making a creative choice about how to deal with their problems

There's always conflict within ourselves. The question is how do we respond to it. And do we allow oursleves to have the tool of violence in our bag of tricks? Or do we say, you know what, no matter what, that's just not an option.





WEBSITE: The Accidental Activist

WEBSITE: The Lysistrata Project

WEBSITE: The Top Ten Reasons To Get Involved in Local Activism