‘Lysistrata’ actors confirm Ancient Greek still funny

By Carl Nadig

Acting students performing an old comedy can still dish out some new jokes.

The School of Theatre and Dance presented Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata” Thursday through Sunday at the Holmes Student Center’s Diversions Lounge. This weekend’s performance was a tribute to the ancient Athenian playwright.

The play’s plot deals with the Peloponnesian War, a conflict between the warring cities of Athens and Sparta in ancient Greece. Aristophanes wrote the original script during the war’s fiercest moments. In a political chess move, the women of Greece conspire and abstain from sex until a peaceful treaty is agreed upon.

“We have a lot of seniors in this show and in their fourth year of training,” said Kendra Helton, Theatre and Dance instructor. “The seniors comparatively put everything they’ve learned into a really high-class text, like a classical text. We haven’t done Greek in a long time — normally it’s Shakespeare or something from the Restoration — but, this year we chose Greek.”

Actors in the show learned the significance of each character throughout the rehearsals.

“There’s always something new to find out about the play,” said Darius Leaks, senior fine arts acting major. “We discovered so many things during improvisation. We all molded it together…. [W]e all make the show. It would [be] so much different with one character missing because they all bring something special…. [T]he thing about going into this career, that I love so much, is that it doesn’t feel like work.”

At times, the play was uproarious, especially with its usage of explicit props and witty dialogue. Appealing to a different audience every night, the play found a gratifying medium between slapstick and highbrow humor, especially near the climax.

Christie Coran, senior fine arts acting major, played the lead female role of Lysistrata.

“We’re taught in this program to really think in an ensemble-type of way,” Coran said. “You do your own research. Once you start to poke into this topic, you realize how much history there is, how much it meant to these people and what an honor it is to … carry that.”