Lysistrata

Set against the backdrop of modern day, debt-ridden Greece, this modern adaptation of Aristophanes’ Greek comedy Lysistrata, first performed back in 411 B.C. refuses to be as specific as focus on the Peloponnesian War of the original version and instead broadens its horizons in making this piece of theatre from the Ancient Greeks more accessible to an audience of the 21st Century. Both to those familiar with the piece beforehand and those who knew absolutely nothing about it, this play from Actors of Dionysus stayed true to the tone of the original evidenced by the endless belly laughs throughout even if the plot was not quite the same.

Though unorthodox in nature and deviating from the plot fairly substantially, the message that it tries to purvey still remains.

The perpetual word play, double entendres and sexual innuendos rendered this performance appropriately in-your-face, playing on the word ‘coming’ being the most common example of these instances. The catalyst for many such situations was the mélange of heterosexual happenings as well as those of a more homosocial nature that had homosexual undertones, which made reference to the fragility of gender relations between men and women at the time the play was originally written.

The effortlessness that the actors displayed in playing characters of various ages and genders instantly reassured the audience as to the competent performance that was to follow. Not only was it a testament to the individual actors’ strong acting ability, but it was the utter ease with which each character interacted with one another that made the performance the constantly cohesive one that it became. Andrea Newlands deserves a particularly special mention for her performance as the comical, yet believable, mother-hen figure of the women’s campaign not to give their men sex until they agree to end the war with peace. Her change in accent in the role of game show host – yes, there is a game show in Lysistrata – towards the end of the performance further displayed her remarkable acting prowess.

The clever use of props was also not a feature that was or even could be missed. Disregarding the enormously erect genitalia that was on display for a large section of the play, the four-poster bed at the beginning of this production from Actors of Dionysus quickly made it apparent that this was a play predominantly concerning sexual politics. The next scene having a coin-patterned backdrop, with the word 'BANK' hanging above it didn't require much imagination as to the sexual act it would soon spell out. Yet, this was done cleverly in triggering the abundance of amorous scenarios that were to follow.

Though unorthodox in nature and deviating from the plot fairly substantially, the message that it tries to purvey still remains. And with a vengeance too. One for all to see – apart from the innocent eyes and ears of young children of course – you really shouldn’t miss out on this intimate cast of five in this comedy of epic proportions.  

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Actors of Dionysus are back on the road with a revival of their no holds barred comedy 'Lysistrata', which promises to be both hilarious and provocative!

Follow our heroine, Lysistrata, and the women of Greece, in their (not always heartfelt!) battle to deny their men sex in order to stop a bloody war. As tensions mount, frustrations erupt, and phalluses reach bursting point, see who wins and if peace is restored, in this high-octane, hugely enjoyable, and absurdist version of Aristophanes' masterpiece.

Tour details: http://www.actorsofdionysus.com/productions/lysistrata-spring-2016

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