‘Lysistrata’ to premiere Friday
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 23:10
This Friday and the following week, University of Southern Mississippi students will be putting on a modern rendition of the Greek comedy “Lysistrata” in the Hartwig Theatre in the Theatre and Dance Building on campus.
While the original play, written by Aristophanes, was first performed in 411 B.C.E., the play has been adapted with modern themes and language to convey innuendo that is not at all subtle. While a lot of the names and references may be outdated, many of the themes still are relevant.
“Lysistrata” is primarily a story about gender politics, both in ancient Greek and in modern times. The play opens with the lead character, Lysistrata, calling all the women in Greece together in hopes to save Greece from war. She does this with a coup, taking over the government and getting all the women to go on a sex strike.
“Most of the aesthetic is personal input,” Alicia Hanley, a third-year graduate student and director of the play, said. While this play is often done in the classical Greek style, Hanley decided to take it in a different direction.
“They kind of just give you the bare bones, and we worked off that,” Hanley.
Both the set designs and the costumes draw inspiration from different times in American history. Costumes are reminiscent of the 1950s, with large, frilly bold colored dresses and characters reminiscent of the stereotypical housewives from that era. This style is mixed with 1960s protest posters and psychedelic paintings.
Even though “Lysistrata” is primarily about the conflict between men and women, the design comes together to play off the anti-war themes that drives the plot.
“The idea of war is times and universal,” Hanley said.
This is Hanley’s fourth play as a graduate student.
“Out of all the different aspects, directing is what I fell in love with,” Hanley said.
Despite its Greek roots, “Lysistrata” does not feel stilted, as many plays from that time feel with contemporary sensibilities. It adapts well to the modern theme and makes a great use of props and music. The themes could be considered to be too assertive, but it is fun to watch. The play deals with many sexual themes, so bringing children is not be advised.
There will be having six showings of “Lysistrata” total. A special showing will be held on Oct. 28 with a pre-show talk. General admission is $8. Run time is two hours plus intermission.