The ancient Greek play Lysistrata is a classic work of 411 BCE. The idea of ending the Peloponnesian War by denying all men the pleasure sex has somehow transcended time, translation and utter farce to the point of it most likely being one of the most performed plays in history. The immortal comedy opened this last weekend at Kordazone, complete with giant phalluses and droopy boobies – and yes, it was a blast.
The play had a pretty big ensemble cast, which during the closing dance routine actually covered most of the available stage space. Surprisingly though, unlike most ensemble casts, the roles were very distinct and had a few key players throughout.
The show was led by Fay Lynn, who we saw earlier this year in Oleana and The Worst Thing I Ever Did. As with her previous roles, Lysistrata is a strong and intelligent woman with what appears to be the intelligence of the entire Greek army combined. Lynn is fabulously sexy as the instigator behind the movement to boycott all sex in Athens and Sparta. But there’s enough compassion in the character to realize she really is doing this to end the war.
The play was hilarious throughout, but the funniest part was that almost everyone in the audience burst out with laughter at a different part of the show – after each cleverly planned piece of comedy, someone burst out in what appeared to be a rotating can of laughs across the rows. It wasn’t hard to find a piece to make you laugh either – it was non-stop sexual innuendo, witty remarks and “Oh My God, did they just say that” moments.
It’s always hard to pick out moments from an ensemble, but Cindy Lee Kok rode Kalonike hard. She embraced the feminine side of the character and gleamed with delight over the idea of using negligees to cause peace.
The standout scene in the entire play centers around Myrrhine (Jules Walton) and her husband Kinesias (Mark Worsley). It’s a tease-ariffic episode where she gets him sexually excited to the point of bursting, but through a series of interruptions perpetrated by Myrrhine, they do not actually have sex. It’ s an epic tease of mass proportions and the peak of Lysistrata’s plot.
The fan favourites in the show were the choruses of old men and women who stripped down to reveal theatrical droopy breasts, sagging bellies and deep dragging testicles. The singing characters rhymed as scenes segued from one to another. Body parts were floppy and flying all over the place and the more things dingled and dangled, the louder the laughs got.
With a lot less nudity and swearing than the original pre-common era Greek production might have had, this modern-day Korda interpretation was a fun little frolic testing our sexual inhibitions and awkward shyness.
There’s no better way to tackle tough subjects like sex and war than a ball-busting comedy filled with innuendo after innuendo. But once the sexual comedy is set aside, one thing remains strong and true – we should all be making love and not war.
Lysistrata continues this weekend with shows nightly at 8pm from Thursday to Saturday (Nov. 16-18). Thursday is pay-what-you-can night. Tickets range from $10-20 and can be purchased at the door, by phone at 519-562-3394, Cardinal Music (2569-B Jefferson Blvd) or Nancy Johns Gallery (4755 Wyandotte St. E). Visit the event Facebook page for more info.
All photos courtesy of ChurchwoodPictures.com