Preview: Lysistrata

Exeposé Arts online (10 March 2014)

The University of Exeter Classics Society will soon be donning their Ancient Greek attire in preparation for this year’s Arts Week.

During 2014’s week-long event aiming to showcase the best of Exeter’s creative talents, the society will stage three performances of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, a comedy set in Ancient Greece and chronicling the struggle for authority between genders during the Peloponnesian War.

Lysistrata, originally performed in Athens in 411BC, offers up a humorous angle on gender issues in the Classical Greek world. Following a decision made by the women of Greece to put an end to the Peloponnesian War, Lysistrata calls upon the women to withhold sex from their husbands until a peace treaty has been signed.

Exploiting their husbands’ sexual desires, the women of Greece manipulate and exert power over the increasingly frustrated men, using their sex-strike to eventually bring about peaceful negotiations.

Lysistrata promises hilarious slapstick and some crude humour, and audiences should expect some explicit language and themes. However, the play also sets out to deliver a clever and insightful look at ongoing battles between the genders in the male-dominated society of the Classical Greek world.

Describing Aristophanes as “the best writer of comedy in Ancient Greece”, Peter Blyth – producer of the performances – said the society’s staging of Lysistrata would in a way be “bringing the best of an ancient world to life.”

He added: “Lysistrata deals with the battle of the genders, and is therefore relevant to modern audiences. By performing it we’re hoping to show people the changes (and improvements) in attitudes towards gender made throughout history. Aside from this, it’s hilarious! Plenty of innuendo and awkwardness – especially what we have in store! It also has very clever humour, and so it will accommodate anyone’s sense of humour.”

Classics Society will be directing, producing and acting in three performances of Lysistrata during Arts Week, offering students and visitors the opportunity to see Aristophanes’ comedy.

The performances will take place on the 13th, 14th and 15th of March in the M&D Room in Devonshire House. Show times are 7pm, and tickets are priced at £4 for Classics Society members, and £5 for non-members.

Image: University of Exeter Classics Society

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