Aristophanes' Lysistrata

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A cast of 12 Swarthmore actors, directed by advanced directing and acting student Eva Amessé '11, perform Dudley Fitts’ adaptation of Aristophanes' anti-war play about the battle of the sexes, Lysistrata. This famous Greek comedy, excerpted here, tells the story of the women from opposing states who spend years suffering in silence while their sons and husbands are off fighting a war with no end in sight. The women decide to put their differences aside in an effort to get their husbands to lay down their swords. They employ the only tactic that will get the men’s attention: a sex strike. Although Lysistrata is often celebrated as a feminist text, Eva and the actors found the end of the play very dissatisfying and misogynistic. Eva encouraged the group to work collaboratively to tweak the end of the play to celebrate the female chorus’ discovery of their collective voice and power as individuals. This production of the bawdy comedy incorporates the Roy Hart Vocal technique to breath life into the coral lyrics that might otherwise fall flat. Guest Artist Adrienne Mackey '04, a Philadelphia-based director who creates original work using her Roy Hart voice and classical opera training, led the cast through a series of voice workshops. Adrienne and Eva worked together to lead improvisational exercises and set the choral speeches to songs and soundscapes inspired by gospel, folk songs, American musical, and theater. Lighting design for the Department of Theater's 2011 production of Lysistrata is by Jacob Gilbert '12 (Haverford) and costume design is by Rachel Branker '12. The faculty advisor for the production is Allen Kuharski, Stephen Lang Professor of the Performing Arts and chair of the Department of Theater.