Sunday, February 06, 2011


Theodora Skipitares has directed a new version of Aristophanes' Lysistrata, featuring performers wearing Skipitares' masks or life-sized puppets. (The other puppet designers are Jane Catherine Shaw and Cecilia Schiller.) Her adaptation is true to Aristophanes' version, with the storyline (women withholding sex to convince their menfolk to give up war) and bawdy humor intact. Skipitares also includes recent footage about real women using Lysistratan techniques, including a sex strike by girlfriends of gang lords in Colombia. There is much creativity in this production, but, sad to say, the show is on the dull side and runs too long, even at an hour. Part of the problem is that Lysistrata itself is a one-joke, one-theme show. While it is interesting historically, it is not that interesting theatrically. Penis jokes wear thin. Skipitares' puppets and masks bring a sense of ceremony and period, but they are distancing, and it is hard to care about anything happening on stage for more than a few minutes. The video footage, while compelling, is difficult to see and the narration is difficult to hear. Lysistrata is blessed, however, by a fascinating score, composed, played, and sung by Sxip Shirey on/with a wonderful array of digital, plastic, and wooden devices.

(Reviewers comps, 4th row.)

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