by Katy Kappele
“Lysistrata” is perhaps, no, undoubtedly, the funniest war protest I’ve ever seen. It’s a raunchy comedy; “Refined?” as Cinesias (Phillip Kaltenbach) said, “It’s a sex comedy. It’s a bunch of ancient dick jokes with acrobatics to round it off!”
It’s the Peloponnesian War, and Athens is surrounded by the Spartan Army. The women decide to do something about it: withhold sex until the war ends.
Sandi Coughlin, in the title role, shines as the mastermind of the Ancient Greek women’s plan. She calls a conference of all of the important women in Greece, but as they arrive, none to pleased to have been called together at dawn, the talk turns to food, which Lysistrata has forgotten to provide. Until the women are satiated, they will not talk politics.
Saucy Spartan Lampito (Amanda Thornton) corrals the ladies into at least hearing out the brilliance of Lysistrata’s suggestion, whereupon Lysistrata makes an impassioned appeal to the hearts of the Greek women, asking them to think of how they miss their husbands, and wouldn’t they do anything, just anything to get them back and make them stop fighting each other?
Coughlin is a master wheedler, and soon she has the women promising to give up anything… except sex.
Because LBP (Lysistrata’s Brilliant Plan) counts on withholding sex, this is not acceptable. But soon, the women have agreed that it is better to withhold sex for a few weeks than never to have sex again because their partner went off and got himself killed.
Cecilee Beck as Calonice is hilarious, inventing slogans like “make love, not war,” some 2,411 years before they became popular as bumper stickers.
The men are not pleased with the women’s plans, which involve taking over the bank, shutting the doors, and stopping the outflow… of money, of course. Because all of the young men are off fighting the war, the men who try to take back their city are, well, ancient Greeks, average age 86.
Enter the Magistrate (Ian MacKinnon). It’s his job not only to whip the police force into shape but also to convince Lysistrata to open the doors… to the bank, of course.
It isn’t long before the protest has grown painful, for the women as well as the men, and Lysistrata has her hands full wrangling women back into the city limits and behind closed gates… of the city, of course.
The men, struggling with balloon erections as long as the arm, are in no place to bargain. They are ready to give up their war as soon as they see their wives, but the Magistrate is not quite ready to give in to a woman, and prolongs the conflict… of the bank, of course.
As this is a comedy, all comes out well in the end, and wives are ready with pins to pop their poor husbands’ balloons… symbolically, of course.
It’s a shame that we may never see this version of Lysistrata preformed in Syre ever again, but what I’m really bummed about is that no one recorded the-play-before-the-play, “The Other Woman.”
The-play-before-the-play was the hilarious tale of a regular British bloke who discovers that his wife’s book club is a front for her activities as a Valkarie. That’s right, she’s really an Norse goddess who guides the souls of fallen warriors into the afterlife, and not the book and falafel loving woman he thought she was.
Needless to say, he and her sisters don’t get along.