Worlds Elsewhere Theatre Company Presents:
Lysistrata

Worlds Elsewhere Theatre Company Presents: Lysistrata by Aristophanes, Translated by George Theodoridis, Directed By Ilana Greenberg-Sud.

The Greek city-states are at war, but Lysistrata, a woman of Athens, thinks the war is wasteful and stupid, and wants it to end. But her wants are no mere idle musing! She has a plan to make the men in power listen, but she can’t do it alone.

In a socially distant, modern-dress presentation of Aristophanes’ classic comedy, translated to the vernacular by George Theodoridis and edited by Ilana Greenberg-Sud, we’ll learn just how much has and has not changed since the days of Ancient Greece.

Watch it on Youtube!


Company Artistic Statement

Theatre, given its nature as a medium made of people in space, has always been a first victim during times of plague.

When the COVID-19 pandemic spread through the world at the start of the year 2020, theatres closed, and millions were left unemployed.

Worlds Elsewhere Theatre Company was founded during this terrifying time. It is our mission to create theatre without a theatre — to create a space online that can serve as a theatrical one. Our company shall create an online space that serves the same function that theatre has served for millennia — as a place of catharsis and healing.

Support Us

If you like what you’ve seen from Worlds Elsewhere and would like to see more, take a moment to look at ways you can help Support Us!

We understand if you, like many people, are not in a position to offer your financial support at the moment; this is a difficult time. If that is the case and you would still like to support our mission, any of the following steps would be very welcome assistance:

About This Production

I picked Lysistrata, in part, because it’s a revered Classical comedy that centers the actions of women. More generally, it’s a story of people who aren’t on the front lines of a conflict taking steps on their own to end it. As someone with a long-lived love of charitable and activist theatre, this means a lot to me. Even though the primary adversity we’re facing in the United States (and in many other parts of the world) at the moment is not an open armed conflict, I believe that the important messages about listening to women and the power of peace are relevant and resonant in our present crises.

As we worked our way through the script, I found myself occasionally wincing, as the text did not always live up to my high school memory of how feminist or progressive it was. And yet…what still rang true for today continued to speak so much more loudly than that which seemed antiquated. I chose this modern language translation to capitalize on those elements, and made additional small changes to encourage the audience to see themselves and the problems of the modern world in the show. What I hope to accomplish with this production and the choices that I’ve made as director (besides uproarious laughter) is to remind our audience that everyone has the power to bring about a more peaceful world — especially women.

The ancient Greek world, as portrayed by Lysistrata, has a very binary concept of gender. It is the goal of this production to present this play while still honoring a modern, complex view of gender, so casting decisions were made with the intention of presenting the conflict of the play while still respecting the gender diversity of our cast and audience. We cast the show with a weighting towards the stated preference of our auditioning performers, doing our best to avoid excessive reliance on traditional gender performance.

— Ilana Greenberg-Sud
Director, Lysistrata
Co-Founder/Staff Producer
Worlds Elsewhere Theatre Company

The Plot

The Greek city-states are at war, but LYSISTRATA, a woman of Athens, thinks the war is wasteful and stupid, and wants it to end. She collects a group of women representing all of Greece (her neighbor, CALONIKI; MYRRHINI, a young Athenian wife and mother; LAMPITO from Sparta; ISMENIA from Boeotia; and THE CORINTHIAN) and suggests a solution: a sex strike. The women of Greece will refuse to have sex with their husbands and lovers until the men end the war. Despite being hesitant, the women agree and swear an oath to refuse all sexual contact until peace is achieved.

To support their cause, the OLD WOMEN OF ATHENS have taken over the Acropolis, keeping the men from accessing the treasury that pays for their war. The OLD MEN OF ATHENS (DRAKIS, PHILOURGOS, PHADRIAS, STRYNIDOROS) attempt to burn down the Acropolis to drive the women out, but are rebuffed by the women, led by STRATYLLIS and including NIKOTHIKI, KALLYKI, RHODIPPI, and KRYTILLI. The MAGISTRATE, accompanied by SKYTHIAN ARCHERS (police) arrives to see why the women are rebelling and convince them to stop, and is humiliated by Lysistrata and her followers before being chased off.

The old men and old women clash again, insulting each other but not accomplishing much.

Lysistrata reappears, bemoaning the fact that many of the women are so desperate for sex they are willing to abandon the cause under the flimsiest of excuses. She begs, persuades, and hounds them into staying, and they eventually agree.

[intermission]

CINESIAS, husband of Myrrhini, arrives with their CHILD and servant MANES to try to persuade her to come home and take care of her “responsibilities’’ as a wife and mother. Lysistrata encourages Myrrhini to tease but ultimately deny her husband, and she does, riling him up and then leaving without alleviating his…condition.

Drakis and his men commiserate over their shared problem with Cinesias. A SPARTAN HERALD arrives, afflicted with the same malady, and begs to meet with the Athenian council to discuss peace.

The men and women face off once more.

Two SPARTAN DELEGATES arrive, ready to talk peace. POLYCHARIDES and another ATHENIAN DELEGATE arrive as well, and the men commiserate before calling for Lysistrata to state her terms and help them negotiate. Lysistrata distracts them with a nude LADY PEACE (The Corinthian, holding a map of Greece). The delegates agree to peace talks and leave the stage.

The delegates celebrate the successful peace talks by getting roaring drunk, chasing off VAGRANTS who have gathered at the gates. Lysistrata and the others celebrate accomplishing their goal, and the imminent return of conjugal relations. The Athenian and Spartan delegates thank the gods for their success, and the play ends.

Cast and Crew

Performers

CHORUS

THE WIVES OF GREECE

THE “OLD” WOMEN

THE “OLD” MEN

THE POLITICIANS

Production

Company Staff

Executive Director — Kyle Kallgren
Producer — David Kowarsky
Producer — Ilana Greenberg-Sud
Technical Director — Dodger of Zion
Web Development — Adrianne Greenberg-Sud and Alexandra Vernon

About the Issues

While this isn’t one of our charity productions, charity and social justice remain important parts of Worlds Elsewhere’s mission. To support causes related to themes in this production of Lysistrata that remain relevant to this day, we suggest the following:

Dramaturgy

Lysistrata is full of references to mythology, memes, and “current” events, just like a late night talk show monologue today. For a full list of references in the show, go here:

Dramaturgical Research

Audio, Music, and Image Attributions

Translation by George Theodoridis, and used with permission.

Banner art by Matt Crowley.

Other images are sourced from the public domain via Pixabay, purchased without requirement for attribution via iStockPhoto, or Copyright David Kowarsky, used with permission.

Background Sounds and Music are public domain, sourced via Freesound, with the following exceptions: