Theater Group Updates Greek Play With Powerful New Setting, Sounds
18, 2000 -- Spectrum Theatre, a University of Virginia
student group, will present a modern adaptation of the classic Greek
play "Lysistrata" in the round this month. The performances
will begin at 8 p.m. in the Student Activities Building on Jan.
20-22 and Jan. 26-29.
a playwright in the fifth century B.C., created a play that he hoped
would provoke a reassessment of the Peloponnesian War, which was
raging at the time. He attempted this by illustrating, exaggerating
and inverting traditional gender roles. Classical Greek society
saw men as having a natural inclination toward aggression, which
was often expressed in war. Women were often presented only as objects
of lust or sexual aggression.
classic play depicts the seizure of the Acropolis and Athens' treasury
by the city's women who, at Lysistrata's instigation, have, together
with all the women of Greece, declared a sex strike until men make
peace. The women defy the men until peace is arranged, after which
the wives are reunited with their husbands. The play is often described
as a strange mixture of humor, indecency, gravity and farce.
in Spectrum Theatre will use the Vietnam War era as a backdrop for
questioning cultural stereotypes in the modern world in their production
appropriating the ethos of the Vietnam War era as our vehicle for
shattering cultural stereotypes, we extend Aristophanes original
project. The peace play becomes the theater of liberation," said
Andrew Starner, the play's director.
terrain of the play is the human form. The evil in the world lies
neither in men nor women, but in society which, although dominated
by men, objectifies both genders," assistant director
Daniel Reid said.
bridge the gap between the two versions, the play begins with Lysistrata
in Greek raiment chanting the opening lines of the original text.
She is soon swept away by an angry protest that ends abruptly with
the arrival of government shock troops. Chaos ensues, with bodies
dropping on an oversized American flag draped over a hill, which
doubles as the Acropolis and the capital.
in Spectrum Theatre have created slides that will be shown between
scenes. "To highlight the relevance of the play for contemporary
society and to shock the audience in ways that would be impossible
on the stage itself, we will augment the verbal material with projected
slides. Each barrage of sounds and images creates a dream world
that casts light on the scene which follows it, revealing subtext
that Aristophanes himself could not have intended," said Kevin
Neher, executive director of Spectrum Theatre.
and another U.Va. student, Steven Shepard, created Spectrum Theatre
in 1998 to stage works that involve and challenge audiences. They
hope the group's staging of "Lysistrata" will create an atmosphere
of constructive conversation about gender issues.
for the play cost $5 and can be purchased on the Lawn, at the Newcomb
Hall Box Office and at the door of the Student Activities Building.
students advise securing tickets early because there are only 325
seats available at each show.
ticket information, contact the Newcomb Hall Box Office at (804)
more information on the production, contact Kevin Neher at (804)
245-8865 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857