Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lysistrata 45/81, 2nd Round

Lysistrata by Aristophanes, play category

The basic plot behind this book is pretty well known. The Greek women get tired of war and decide force a peace treaty. Their weapon of choice is sex - they will withhold intimacy from their men until the men agree to call off the war.

As might be expected, the dialogue is pretty full of innuendo and at time explicit reference to sex. There are lots of jokes about it. I'm not sure how this would be staged in today's world.

I was fine with that. What bothered me was the translation. For instance, apparently the Spartans had an accent that marked them out from the Athenians. The translator chose to interpret that as a country hick accent. Then there was the attempt to make the dialogue modern and hip, which is of course, at least 20 years out of date.

Not a bad play, although the whole idea shouldn't have taken as long as it did to stage. One act would have been enough. But if you want to read it, find a different translation. This one was done by William Arrowsmith and it is really jarring to read.

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