One of the oldest documented cases of censorship of the theater is the ban of Aristophanes’s “Lysistrata,” written in 411 BC, which was deemed “unacceptably subversive” by Greek authorities at the time, reports LA Weekly. It was banned more recently, relatively speaking, in the United States, under the Comstock Law of 1873. The US ban wasn’t lifted until the 1930s.
The anti-war drama touches on “offensive” themes such as the power of women. In order to keep their men from fighting in the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, Athenian heroine Lysistrata and a group of women from various city-states throughout Greece first agree to withhold sex from their warring partners until peace is declared, and then take over the Acropolis, halting access to much-needed money to fund the war.
“Aristophanes knew that his audience would find both these strategies ludicrous and treat his play, with its slapstick and doubles entendres, as an extravagant fantasy – for women to assert themselves in a public arena at that time was pure Theatre of the Absurd,” writes The Guardian.