Knoxville's Actors Co-op begin their 2007 – 2008 season of “Greatest Hits” with Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata.  This production, directed by Artistic Director Amy Hubbard, combines classic theatre with contemporary themes. This revival of 2002’s Lysistrata promises to ignite the audience with issues of war, peace, and sex.

Lysistrata, loosely translated to “she who disbands armies," is an anti-war Greek comedy, written in 411 BC by Aristophanes. The play focuses on Lysistrata as she plots to end the Peloponnesian War.  Lysistrata convinces all the women – both Spartan and Athenian - to unite as one by withholding certain affections from their warrior husbands until peace is made. 

The play is assumed to be originally performed at Dionysia. Over the decades many versions of Lysistrata have been produced.  It has been produced in over 90 languages and all over the world.  In 1961, the play served as the basis for the musical, The Happiest Girl in the World

In 1976 Ludo Mich adapted the play from the stage to the screen. In 1968 a Mozart-like opera was written and “almost” performed at Wayne State University; however it was canceled four days before opening due to a cast member being drafted into the Vietnam War.  Due to the nature of the play and fear of its anti-war sentiment the director halted the production. 

In 2003 with the Iraq war in full swing and peace protests emerging The Lysistrata Project was created.  Performed throughout the United States, the play became a focal point of the anti-Iraq war campaign.  Most recently a production was mounted in the summer of 2005 that changed the setting from Ancient Greece to modern day New York and the magistrate was replaced with George W. Bush.

No one will ever know if Aristophanes realized the impact his play would have on modern societies and in the anti war campaigns against almost every war in this century.  It is known that he was considered one of the greatest comic dramatists of his time and that he is considered the Father of Comedy and the Prince of Ancient Comedy.  He was born around 420 BC and he received fame at the Theatre of Dionysus with his play Banqueters.  Other famous plays include:  the Frogs, the Cloud, and the Birds.

Returning to Lysistrata are director Amy Hubbard, Sara Schwabe as Lysistrata and Greg Congleton as the Leader of the men’s chorus.  All three are Actors Co-op Company members. 

Lysistrata runs Friday, July 27, through Saturday, August 11, with a preview on Thursday, July 26. Shows are Wednesday – Saturday with curtain at 8:00 p.m. and matinees on the second and third Saturday at 2:00 p.m. 

Ticket costs will vary depending on the performance night, for information on ticket cost call the Co-op office.  Tickets for all performances (except for preview and Wednesday nights) are currently on sale through KnoxTix. Call KnoxTIX at 865-523-7521 or visit them at www.knoxtix.com.  

Group reservations of ten or more can be made thru the Actors Co-op’s main office.  For any other questions regarding the show or the Actors Co-op please call 865-909-9300. 

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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