note: entire contents copyright 2013 by Richard Pacheco
Cape Cod Community College’s current production of the classic Aristophanes play “Lysistrata” is a merry raunchy romp, full of vitality and sheer fun. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace — a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society. This translation by Douglass Parker is raucous fun, full of double entendres, sexual innuendoes and jokes galore, which the director aptly calls the Mel Brooks version, not at all academic but full of sheer fun able to deftly trample boundaries of good taste at a single bound.
Kimberly Monteiro is Lysistrata, the woman with a mission to make love not war. She struggles to rally the women behind her cause to cut off all sex from the men until they end the war, period and most succinctly. It is an uphill battle, one fraught with assorted difficulties but she is determined. Monteiro is solid in the role, full of energy and enthusiasm. She offers a strong presence, a woman of sheer will and concentration bent on victory and the end of the war no matter what it takes.
She has a bevy of determined women with her, some varying in their dedication and enthusiasm for the cause but still willing to contribute to the best of their abilities.
The men who try to thwart this plan are many and just as dedicated until the lack of sex starts taking its toll on all of them eventually ending with them stuck at attention to the task at mind.
Dustin Martin is the commissioner of public safety whose loyalty and dedication to the cause of war are not in question. But he is a man and eventually the battle of the sexes takes its toll on him as well and he succumbs to the pressure to relent in war. Martin is delightful as the commissioner, full of bluster and at times pompous, a loyal city father dedicated to the cause of the current war.
Ben Gutman is Kinesias, a renown warrior who loves his wife even more than war so it turns out. When he returns for battle for a conjugal visit and his wife refuses him sex, it paridly brings about his change of heart to embracing the new cause of peace and put an end to his priapism. Gutman is hilarious as he battles his wife’s refusal and his painful condition. He makes the most of double entendres and sexual comments to very funny effect.
Emily Entwhisle is Myrrhine, his wife. She is winning as the temptress, who shamelessly teases and tantalizes her husband but refuses to surrender to his advances, no matter how long it has been unless he supports giving up the war.
Cameron Hall is Kinesias’ slave, a man dedicated to his mater determined to help him solve his marital plight as bet he can. Hall is a hoot as the slave, full of energy and enthusiasm.
Special mention has to be made of the Spartan Ambassadors who sound like big time hillbilly rednecks. They are outrageously funny with the twang in their voices and their rough and ready presence.
Of the women, the names ones and not the choruses, Emily Tullock, Emily Entwhisle. Taryn Van Esslestyn and Liz Bent are sheer delights with their various antics and quirks as they come over to the cause espoused by Lysistrata.
The fairly good sized choruses of men and women offer distinctive personalities as well as blending into homogeneous wholes when needed.
Director Elizabeth Rapoza keeps everything moving at a merry raunchy pace, the sex jokes and antics running amok with a sense of raw energy and sheer abandon. It is a large cast with both male and female choruses and she handles their movement with skill and grace.
The set by Guy Trudeau is excellent, with two Greek style buildings on either side and a temple entrance at rear of the stage with a frieze atop which is elegant and classic in
style and beauty. It is a vigorous, rambunctious good time, rich in sexual remarks, situations and double entendres. Aristophanes would have been happy to see it.
“Lysistrata” at Tilden Arts Center, Cape Cod Community College, 2240 Ivanaugh Road, West Barnsatable, MA n 508-362-2131, April 9-11, 17 and 18, 24, 25 at 7 pm, April 11, 18, 25 at 2 pm. $15 general admission, free with student ID.