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|A CurtainUp Review
By Jenny Sandman
Many a man (and woman) has claimed the central tenet of Lysistrata: that if people only got laid more often, there would be far less violence in the world. This most produced of Aristophanes' comedies was originally written in 411 B.C. It remains bawdy even to modern ears; a true ancestor of South Park.
Aristophanes depicts the women of Greece are tired of wars the men fight constantly, depleting the treasury and leaving them n lonely and restless. To end the war, the women resolve to withhold all sexual contact with their husbands and lovers until a peace treaty is signed. Though they are just as frustrated as their husbands, they stick to the plan, overtaking the Acropolis where the war money is kept and refusing to surrender it to the men. When their husbands come skulking up to the Acropolis, erections plainly visible, the women taunt them until they can take it no longer. A peace treaty is signed, war is officially ended, and everyone rushes home in a hurry.
Untitled Theater Company #61, in an apparent homage to ancient Greek theatre, has chosen to revive Lysistrata with a 100-member cast--50 men, 50 women. They sort of cheat--not all 100 cast members are used in every performance--but it's an interesting idea, nonetheless. Even more interesting is the space in which it is performed--the UnderWater Theatre, in DUMBO. It's appropriate that a paean to Dionysus, sex and wine would be performed in the basement of a bar in a lofty two-story brick space with huge pillars and open seating (and a full bar).
Edward Einhorn seems to have done his research. The performances are lewd without being prurient, and he has reined in his boisterous ensemble just enough. The cast of women is livelier and more unified than that of the men; Cameron Peterson is a firm but caring Lysistrata, with Saysha Heinzman (Calonice) and Kalle Macrides (Myrrhina) as her comic relief. The productions, which comes complete with five assistant directors and five assistant stage managers (one imagines they're needed simply to direct traffic), fully utilizes the entire space. The actors cavort, yell and sing. The musical numbers and dances include plenty of the requisite simulated drunkenness and sex. Bawdy jokes and innuendoes are played to the hilt (pun intended).
This is a loud and raucous show. And so l it should be since Lysistrata is after all a comedy.
The audience for this show? Anyone with an appreciation for sex, or drinking -- or even Sex and the City
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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