Celebrating Love Not War

UAS students to stage modern translation of Aristophanes 'Lysistrata' for the American Red Cross

Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2005

On behalf of the American Red Cross, two University of Alaska Southeast seniors are producing a modernized reader's theater version of "Lysistrata" - Aristophanes' millennia-old play about the foolishness of war.

Samantha DeSoer and Gianna Thornton came up with the idea early this year, after learning that the Alaska chapter is operating at a $35,000 loss each month.

"With everything happening in the world right now, the Red Cross needs something," Thornton said.

Rehearsals started about six weeks ago for the piece, which stars 10 students. "Lysistrata" plays once, at 2 p.m. Sunday at the University of Alaska Southeast's Egan Lecture Hall. A minimum donation of $5 is suggested at the door. All proceeds go to the American Red Cross.

The cast includes: DeSoer, Thornton, Royce Snyder, Heather Okland, Denal Griffin, Kai Ottenson, Jessye O'Connell Schmitz, Mariah Warren, Jerry Demmert and Michael Partlow. Hillary Fleming created Greek masks out of papier-mache.

"Lysistrata" was staged March 3, 2003, at Juneau's Gold Town Nickelodeon theater as part of the Lysistrata Project, an international artists' protest against the impending war in Iraq.

Aristophanes, a Greek comic, wrote the play sometime around 412 B.C. during the 27-year Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.). Athens was besieged for most of the war, as Sparta and its allies laid waste to its empire. Athens was eventually overrun, ending its stretch of glory.

Aristophanes often wrote about the effects of war on the city and its inhabitants. In the play, Lysistrata asks all the women of Greece to refuse to have sex with their husbands until a peace treaty has been signed. The men are quickly driven to desperation.

Thornton and DeSoer are using a translation by modern playwright Drue Robinson Hagen. A gong, played by Partlow, will replace some of the foul words.

"It's still set in Greece, but the language is more modern to make it more understandable to younger audiences," Thornton said. "It's still pretty graphic. There's definitely adult content."

• Korry Keeker can be reached at korry.keeker@juneauempire.com.

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