Stepping Out

Pear’s ‘Lysistrata’ opens online Friday

Cynthia Branch
Courtesy of Pear Theatre
Cynthia Branch Lagodzinski plays the title role in Pear Theatre’s “Lysistrata,” opening Friday.

Mountain View’s Pear Theatre continues its 2020-2021 season with the ancient Greek comedy “Lysistrata,” offered digitally Friday through Nov. 8.

First staged in 411 B.C., Aristophanes’ play is about women enacting a sex strike to convince their husbands to end a war.

“’Lysistrata’ is one of the greatest comedies ever written,” said Carolyn Balducci, who translated and adapted the play for Pear. “It contains poetry, word play, formal dramatic elements – such as a prologue, a parados, agon, parabatic debate, choral interludes, episodes and exodus – and is full of references to historical and mythological entities. Having translated this and other comedies into English, I can attest to the challenge of making a comic text both accurate and funny.”

In the play, a Greek woman named Lysistrata sets out to end the decades-long Peloponnesian War by asking stay-at-home spouses on both sides of the conflict to withhold sex from the warriors. To maximize the pressure of the threat, the spouses agree to look and act as seductive as possible, while simultaneously refusing sexual congress until peace negotiations are underway. Meanwhile, a contingent of peacekeepers – largely the older women of Athens – will occupy the Acropolis, seize control of the treasury and thereby cut off funding for the war.

But people will be people, and it isn’t long before some of Lysistrata’s “soldiers” are sneaking off for intimate trysts with their loved ones. Can they resist their own urges long enough to force a peace?

Betsy Kruse Craig directs “Lysistrata,” filmed live, outdoors, with an eight-person cast that takes on multiple roles. Actors include Cynthia Lagodzinski (as Lysistrata), Nicole Martin (Kalonike), Amitis Rossaukh (Myrrhine), Tyler Jeffreys (Lampito), Becca Gilbert (Ismenia), Treya Dionne Brown (Corinthian and Head of the Old Women’s Chorus), Natashia Denee Marshall (The Commissioner) and Samantha Ricci (Kinesias and Head of the Old Man’s Chorus).

Online access is $37 for Friday’s opener (includes small gift). Afterward, access is $34 general admission and $30 for students, seniors and educators.

To purchase access and for more information, call 254-1148 or visit thepear.org/season-19.

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