By Kristin Salaky
Sex, geriatric catfights and penis puns were aplenty at The Ohio University School of Theater and School of Dance's production of 'Lysistrata'.
The show, an adaptation by adapted by Ellen McLaughlin of the Greek myth by Aristophanes follows a Greek woman, Lysistrata and her plan to end the Peloponnesian War by uniting the women of Greece in a celibacy pact until the war is ended.
The production opened with beautiful dancing by six women from the School of Dance, three dressed in traditional Greek battle garb, and three in modern day army camouflage.
While the dancing was gorgeous and the lighting spectacular, as the dancers depicted a gruesome battle scene, it may have been to both the audience's benefit and the story's if instead of opening with a ten minute dancing production, they spread the dancing out. The dancers were not seen again until the final scene and their absence was sorely missed.
After the emotional dance portion, the theatrical portion of the show opened with two women who were supposed to be "like, the chorus." These women (Tess Stevens and Rachel Weekley) did a fantastic job throughout the show with introducing the show's modern vernacular and keeping the audience on track with the story.
Rachel Mock, who played the title role, had several extremely powerful scenes mixed with a few welcome bits of comic relief as she persuaded both the women of Greece, who formed a fantastic ensemble, and the misogynistic Greek leaders of her plan.
One particular scene between Lysistrata and Magistrate (Mbali Guliwe), one of the Greek leaders, had all of the real tension and give and take of an argument exploring the idea of war an its atrocities. The two had an evident chemistry and made for an enthralling sight.
While the show tackled serious issues, there was no scarcity of laughs and moments that the audience squirmed in their seats. In particular, a scene following the elders of Sparta who battled over the treasury of Athens- which developed into a song and dance and borderline orgy- and a scene involving more "dick jokes" than a Judd Apatow film- were some of the more absurd and eye averting moments of the show that no doubt provided the audience a conversation piece.
Overall, the show's mix of classic and modern elements made the production both accessible and thought provoking to a wide variety of audiences. While the show only had an hour running time, the audience gets a lot of show for their time.
'Lysistrata' runs through February 28 in the Forum Theatre. For tickets and more information, click here.