Without women or money, men stop war

Laura Lucas

Laura Lucas

Every time students read Lysistrata in Dramatic Literature, they have wanted to perform it, said J.D. Ackman, director of the play.

The comedy was written by Aristophanes in the fifth century B.C. According to Ackman, Aristophanes is known for his comedies being satirizing to political and social issues. This show presents the audience with the question of what if the wives of men at war band together to end the war by withholding sex.

The show takes place during the Peloponnesian War in Athens. The men of Athens have been away for a long time fighting with the Spartans and have just come back to Athens.

“The women are sick of all the fighting,” said Kim Graff, a sophomore English education major, “so they decide to do something about it.”

Cori Bortnem, a senior interdisciplinary studies major, plays the main character of Lysistrata.

“She is a very strong, self-sufficient, gutsy Greek woman. She is the one who gathers the women and creates the plan,” Bortnem said.

The plan is for the women to abstain from sexual relations with their husbands. In order to increase the efficiency of their plan, the women also take over the Acropolis, the treasury.

One aspect of this show that stands out is the use of phallic symbols. Graff said the set has subtle phallic symbols and the men have appendages under their costumes.

“The use of a phallic symbol in ancient times was as common to them as a Christmas wreath is to us,” said Ackman.

Because Lysistrata was written in ancient Greece, it has a chorus. The chorus in this show is divided into two groups, the old men and the old women. Each chorus speaks to the audience and each other but not to other characters in the show.

“My favorite part has been working with the other chorus members, because we are given a lot of creative freedom,” said Blaine Greenlee, a communication studies major.

According to Graff, the show does not have any music written in, but the people who make up the chorus put in extra work. They found contemporary tunes so they could sing some of their lines and dance around.

“As an audience member, you should expect lots of sexual innuendo and a really good time. I think it is really great for a college audience because of this. It is really funny but also has a really good story line. So come expecting to be highly entertained,” said Greenlee.

Lysistrata is not written like Shakespeare, and this translation uses modern language, said Bortnem.

Although the show is a comedy, it has an important message, cast members said.

“It’s unfortunate this show is always timely. Someone is always at war, and all the points this show makes are valid,” said Ackman. “We make war. In reality, the solution presented in the show probably would not work, but it shows the possibility. The path to peace could be simpler than we think.”

The tools Aristophanes uses to make his point seem blatant and crude and get the point across at the end of the show, Ackman said. Fundamentally, men and women are the same.

Lysistrata runs from April 22 through April 26 in Doner Auditorium. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. April 22 through April 25, with a matinee starting at 2 p.m. on April 26. The show is free with student I.D. and is recommended for mature audiences only.

“I am really excited to see this show because I have not been to a theater production yet, and from all the things I have heard, this is a good one to start with. I have a feeling I will not be let down,” said Daine Pearson, a food service and hotel management major.