The Public Seed Theatre Company Lysistrata: the Musical!By Betsy Marks Delaney • Jul 20th, 2010 • Category: Fringe, Reviews
The Public Seed Theatre Company
Through July 25th
Reviewed July 14, 2010
The Official Description: Aphrodite wants love. Themis wants justice. Hera wants to f-ck all men. What’s a girl to do? In this new pop/rock musical, Lysistrata uses sex to bring a war to its knees.
Let’s be up front about the subject matter. The women of Athens and Sparta are TIRED of the mess their homes have become because their men have gone to war. Lysistrata, inspired by praying to Hera for guidance, leads her friends and the women of Athens and Sparta to revolt by withholding the only thing they can control. By depriving their men, they hope to put an end to the fighting. The action is watched over by three Godesses (Hera, Queen of the Gods, angry at her husband Zeus for choosing other women), Aphrodite (the Goddess of love) and Themis (the blind Goddess of justice), who serve as the Greek Chorus (using the Warehouse’s balcony to great effect). The Commissioner (Chip Hewitt) is only one who seems unaffected by this sex strike, but even he gets caught up in this ultimate battle of the sexes.
Aristophanes’ comedy, written in 411 BC, seems to be a timely and popular theme. At the time it was written, the Peloponnesian War had already lasted twenty years. We’re in the midst of our own endless war (10 years since we launched into Iraq and Afghanistan, with no clear end in sight). There have been 19 separate translations of the original play, proving this material still reaches audiences, thousands of years after its premiere.
Patrick Magill’s casting and direction are terrific. Standouts include Lysistrata (Katie Nigsch Fairfax), Myrhinna (Autumn Seavey, whose comic timing and vocal chops are impeccable), Themis (Mia Branco, burdened by scales and an insatiable desire for the women to win their battle), Hera (Katie Brobst, who holds her own against a keyboard that’s just a smidge too loud for the space), and Cinesias (Timothy Adams, Myrhinna’s fabulously frustrated husband).
Vishal Vaidya and Jeremy King’s bawdy, sexually explicit music is catchy and often hilarious. The book, written by Ariana Hodes (who also contributed to the lyrics) is a sharp, modern translation that boils the story down to essentials, so that it fits well within its 70 minute time slot. Lysistrata is terrific adult entertainment on a hot (and BOY, do I mean HOT) summer night.
Produced by The Public Seed Theatre Company, Lysistrata…The Musical! is based on the concept by Cara Gabriel. Music by Jeremy King. Lyrics by Vishal Vaidya and Jeremy King. Book/Additional Lyrics by Ariana Hodes. Directed by Patrick Magill.
- Lysistrata: Katie Nigsch Fairfax
- Myrhinna: Autumn Seavey
- Lampito: Ali Hoxie
- Themis: Mia Branco
- Hera: Katie Brobst
- Aphrodite: Chelsea Rae-Abbate
- Cinesias: Timothy Adams
- Lackey: Arden Moscati
- Commissioner: Chip Hewitt
- Director: Patrick Magill
- Musical Director: Jeremy King
- Choreographer: Vishal Vaidya
- Stage Manager: Baron Pugh
- Producer: Josh Sticklin
- Production Designer: Katie Nigsch Fairfax
- Lighting Designer: Baron Pugh
Disclaimer: Our reviewer was provided a complimentary ticket for this review.
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Betsy Marks Delaney is founder and Artistic Director of OutOftheBlackBox Theatre Company (O2B2) and General Manager of the Greenbelt Arts Center. Since 2006 Betsy has worked as a director, producer, designer and more. Betsy has also worked with Washington Revels, Arena Stage, the now-defunct Harlequin Dinner Theatre and with community theatre companies both in Maryland and in upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. Through Hawkeswood Productions, Betsy produces archival performance videos and YouTube highlight spots.