NEW YORK.- Once again, the great National Theatre of Greece returns to City Center, from October 6-10, this time with Aristophanes’ timeless comedy Lysistrata. Lydia Koniordou will portray the prototype of the 21st Century woman. She takes over the Acropolis in Athens and dictates that no man will have sex until she gets what she wants. Eat your heart out Sarah Jessica Parker.
Adapted and directed by Costas Tsianos, the play is presented once again to the public, by the National Theatre of Greece, with both humorous and educative mood. The performances tours Greece for three whole months (July-September).
Aristophanes, a generation behind Sophocles and Euripides, has deeply experienced the consequences of the Peloponnesian War. In an effort to express his opposition to any kind of hostilities -that usually influence everyone- he created “Lysistrata” in 411 B.C. The work became a symbol of female intelligence -or cunning as some want to call it- and, at the same time, the hymn of every anti-war effort, even more than his previous work, “Peace” (421 B.C.).
Being tired of men’s participation in the battles, the women of Athens and later of Sparta and other Greek cities band together, aiming to stop the hostilities. Their slogan is sexual strike!
Men cannot satisfy their… sexual needs, because women are now sworn to be off their marital obligation at least until the former stop the war. Aristophanes narrates in his play the bantering of this decision with his familiar humour and his educative mood.
Several critics have supported that Aristophanes’ script was quite antifeminist and that he chose to make women invade Acropolis because they were the lowest beasts of Greek culture. It would be unfair not to admit that women in ancient Athens had a lower place in social hierarchy comparing to man. However, even if we accept that Aristophanes was indeed agreed to that belief, we cannot forget that he presents women in his work as intelligent -at least to a degree- beings and that he supports that they should from time to time be listened to.
According to researchers Papadimitriou and Lewis, two real persons, Lysimache (which like Lysistrata means the one who stops war) and Myrrhine, both priestess of goddess Athina (Minerva) that lived in the late 5th century B.C. have inspired the characters of Lysistrata and Myrrhine. The opinion of these two researches is reinforced by Lysistrata’s place in Aristophane’s comedy: she appears to be more clever and serious than the other women, she is the only one that doesn’t take part in the sexual strike -probably because she was neither husband or lover- and she is respected by all men.