Lysistrata

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Aristophanes, with Lysistrata, a heroine from Hellenic times, raises the issue of peace in a humorous way with using the themes of sex and war. The relationship between sex and war is such a nice shot. There is a strong tie between the sexual desire and anger. War as an exaggeration of the emotion ‘anger’ can only be redeemed with a strong equal as ‘lust’. It reminds me the seven deadly sins of Christianity, and similar belief systems that put anger and sexual desire (lust) in the same plane. It again reminds me an eccentric anecdote from an article related to the identity and culture. In that article, according to some research, it was stated that the males perceived guns as a substitute of penis, and libidinal investment.

The stage is designed in an open structure with 3 sides used effectively. The interpretation of ancient context as means of décor does not seem natural to me. I do not know why but I perceive the décor as a kitsch representation. The clothing is more successful than the décor choices. I like the loose quality of the inhabitants’ clothes.

The feeling of ‘artificial’ and cliché that begins with décor continues with the plot. In any medium when the audience gets the story’s tension and the resolution of that tension at the very beginning, there is no reason for him/her to continue to the interaction with the artwork. I have such kind of feeling in Lysistrata. When the story is developing we already know that the sex strike will end in one or another way. The question of ‘how?’ is the all tension left which is filled with the naïve comedy passages.

Acting is quite successful. You can derive the action words obviously. The fool ‘making fool of himself’, the smart and respectful ‘playing the one’, the weak and dependent ‘go with the flow’…I like the character whose language is different than others. She is the most unpredictable of the whole play.

The character choice of Lysistrata with a high status from beginning to end is quite a heroine investment of the playwright, director, and so the audience. The question at this point is that is it worth to that investment or not? I am not sure of this. I had confusion close to the end when Lysistrata was presenting us the ‘princess’. She seems the symbolic revelation of the play, a kind of Christ/goddess figure, a combination of sex and peace motives, a last crescendo surprise for the audience who could not get it that through the whole play. But the transition from Lysistrata to her- even Lysistrata did it- was not a smooth-successful transition.

Lysistrata arouses a question in my mind: How can fiction- as a time-dependent reality- be conveyed to the audience successfully? How do we -as audience- perceive the fictitious, and accept it as the fiction of our reality? Fiction, in these classical contexts like Lysistrata, should be redefined with a dynamic interpretation according to the consciousness of the contemporary audience. It should not be a replica of a so-called context.