By Hannah Litvan
The Greek men have been off at war for who knows how long, and the women are sick of it. Lysistrata rallies the women to protest the war. How do they protest? By withholding sex from their husbands. While this sounds like a punishment only for men, the women find it just as difficult to hold to their oath. This play delves into the sexuality of people and how sex influences their lives (maybe more than anything else). Eventually, through the widespread withholdings of women, the war ends. Everyone rejoices, but it is not a happy ending for Lysistrata.
The twist that the Albion Theater put on this show was to set it in a western-type place. There was also a steampunk element that came out in their costumes. The wardrobes were excellently made and individualized to the specific characters. The set was well-done, showing an old mine and tumbleweeds across the stage.
In general, I found the acting to be well done. Most of the time people were all talking together and exhibiting the same emotion so the point got across very clearly. I wasn’t ever confused on what was being said or planned in the play, so it was nice to just watch instead of try and figure out the plot.
I thought the Minstrel’s part (Finnegan Powers, first year) was interesting because he played the guitar pretty much the whole show. His character also was emotionally involved in the plot in the sense that he has reactions to what was happening, which served as a useful proxy for the audience. It was a tongue-in-cheek way to keep the audience filled in on what was happening if they lost track of the dialogue, and Powers’ soft guitar line added a great feel to the show.
Kalonike (Meghan Slocum, senior) was one of my favorite characters due to her sassy opening scene. Lampito (Brittney DeShano, junior), too, was an enthusiastic stage presence. Most of the female players in the show displayed a command of wit and energy.
Along with that, the old men were also enjoyable to watch creak around the stage. The Magistrate (Brandon Marino, junior) was a wild and hilarious character in which Marino played quite well.
My favorite scene, and a highlight of the play, was the argument between Kinesias (Max Brosnahan-Lusk, senior) and Myrrhinne (Meghan Bortle, senior). Their chemistry was spot-on, and they fully enveloped themselves in their roles.
I know I’m not alone with my confusion at and dislike of the sudden song-and-dance ending. It came out of nowhere and did not make sense to the rest of the play, which was neither a musical nor a dance performance. The dancing was not in sync, and the actors clearly needed more practice. I know Greek plays were commonly musical, but if the director really wanted that, it should have been throughout the whole play.
I wasn’t sure how to feel about the stripping of Peace (Tyler Moylan, first year). His character didn’t come across as a female, but the scene was made humorous by perhaps the largest bush I have ever seen.
The program erroneously promised an intermission, but there was none. I, as well as other noticeably fidgety people in the audience, wanted that intermission. The play was under two hours, so it wasn’t a chore to sit through, but it was disconcerting to watch the play waiting for an intermission and not getting one.
Originally, I thought otherwise, but I grew to dislike the performance of the character Lysistrata (Marie Perreault, junior). Perrault played passion well, but she quickly lost her emotions throughout the show. The opening scene was her strongest, she took charge of the stage with her emotions and physical movement. But soon, she became monotone and docile. She came back a little in the end, but did not seem very excited for the Greek women’s victory, even before she finds out her husband has died.
Overall, the show was strong, with a few flaws. It was creative and had strong acting for the most part. The pacing was uneven with the inclusion of the song-and-dance numbers, but that’s not the fault of the performers, who mostly gave it their all. The technical aspects of the show, such as the lighting, set design, and costumes, are all superb, which is a testament to the skill and hard work of the Albion College Theater Department.