This past weekend, The University of Tulsa’s production of “Lysistrata” opened to audiences. The play tells the story of a group of oppressed women, sick of the needless war they must suffer through, who decided to take matters into their own hands and withhold sex from their husbands until peace was declared. Directed by Michelle Miller Dill, “Lysistrata” perfectly highlighted the contrasting themes of oppression and equality while still capturing the timeless humor of the original piece.
While based on the original Greek play by Aristophanes, this version of the play was definitely a unique creation of its own. Dill did an amazing job of modernizing the play, updating the setting, costume, and dialect (as well as innuendo) of the play, which not only underlined the play’s universal themes of war and equality but also presented something that everyone could relate to.
“When we first found out that the show was going to be modernized, I was skeptical, but I quickly learned what people truly meant when they say that Greek plays are timeless,” explains John Broadwater, who plays Artemas. “I was shocked to see that we really didn’t have to alter what Aristophanes did very much. We actually took out some of the more raunchy stuff, believe it or not!”
The play itself was an interesting experience. Each cast member took a unique approach to their character that added to the overall charm of the show and an atmosphere of comedy that never felt forced or rushed. Special props go out to Mia Graham as Kleonike, who delivered her punchlines with a subtle sense of realism that filled the theatre with laughter every time. The cast also seized every opportunity to keep the audience engaged, often chasing each other through the audience and even tossing a baby (fake of course) to an audience member at one point, which added to the delightful mayhem of the show.
The audience members weren’t the only ones having a lot of fun too. The cast genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves as they paraded around stage, bickering effortlessly back and forth with each other and dropping perfectly timed jokes that would leave grandma deaf in one ear but were hilarious nonetheless. “There are still so many moments where it’s hard for me to stay in character because I’m dying laughing underneath,” explains Broadwater. “There really is something for everyone in this show.”
Overall, the show was a delightful experience that contained something for everyone to enjoy. As to whether or not the rest of the audience had a great time, audience member Jessica Maas definitely did. “I enjoyed it so much,” she says. “I’ve seen it multiple times and each time was even funnier than the last. I’m really glad I got the chance to ‘lock it down.’”