Sasha Cucciniello presents reading of “Lysistrata” March 26

Sasha Cucciniello presents reading of “Lysistrata” March 26

[Listen to director Sasha Cuciniello of Telluride's SquidShow Theatre, talk about her next theatrical event, a reading of "Lyistrata," by clicking the "play" button on her podcast]

The plays the thing_lysis About 2,400 years ago,  in 411 BC,  when an unknown altogether forgotten transvestite actor first donned the mask and costume of "Lysistrata," he was making theatre history by portraying a character who was a composite of some of the most assertive women in Greek mythology – who used a sex strike as their weapon of choice.

In Telluride, when The Telluride Council for Arts and Humanities and SquidShow Theatre present  "Lyistrata," there will be no masks, no elaborate sets, no cast of thousands. The play by the Greek playwright Aristophanes is being presented as a reading, part of an ongoing series "The Play's The Thing." In creating the series, Sasha and TCAH hope to bring to classics from the Greeks to Shakespeare and Moliere to a broader regional audience and, at the same time, offer would-be thespians an opportunity to work with a safety net, a script.

In early March, the world celebrated the "fairer sex" with International Women's Week. They and the "Phenomenal Women" Telluride honored find their roots in Aristophanes' leading lady. Sophisticated and complex, Lysistrata is one of the most important roles Aristophanes ever composed, whether we measure her weight in terms of number of lines spoken, range of vocal and physical performance styles required, or the ethical/political authority she seems able to exert over women, men, Athenians and Spartans alike. 

In "Lysistrata," the battle of the sexes trumps the battles taking place on the field of war. Possibly the boldest antiwar play ever written, this  comedy tells the story of women in ancient Athens and Sparta who band together under Lysistrata to withhold their prize “offerings” until  their men  stop their senseless fighting. The message of the play extends far beyond the 5th century B.C.: Make love, not war.
The characters, like the message, have pop relevance. Think of Lysistrata as Queen Latifah in "Hairspray." Her friend Calconice is a fashionista straight out of "Desperate Housewives." Myrrhine is Marilyn Monroe in a toga. Lampito is a Diana Ross type, hard as nails on the outside, soft inside, Texas accent to boot. The Magistrate is the lead singer of the Temptations and Myrrhine's spouse Cinesias is an Elvis.

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