Lysistrata Jones - May 12 - May 14, 2016

The Beacon School


Ancient History. Satire. Basketball. Feminism?


Aristophanes penned his scathing anti-war comedy Lysistrata in 411 B.C. It’s a classic. Literally. In the famous pages, which have been translated and adapted into hundreds of versions, including Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, our heroine Lysistrata derails the seemingly endless Peloponnesian War by inspiring a sex strike among the women on both sides. The premise is pretty simple really, Lysistrata argues that if men are denied access to what they consider most precious, they will do ANYTHING to be reunited with their partners – even swallow their pride and embrace their foes. Despite her honorable intentions, however, Lysistrata’s plan blows up in her face. The escalation of tension between the men and women erupts into a hysterical battle of the sexes which results in old women taking captives and lighting fires and old men, burdened with ridiculous phalluses, urinating on the Acropolis in retaliation. The gross exaggeration in the story is not unlike the over the top political comedy we see produced today. Aristophanes? John Oliver? I bet they would have had a most fantastical bromance.

But consider the time line. Lysistrata is almost 2,500 years old! So an early feminist icon was penned by an ancient Greek dramatist? Some argue that he was actually mocking women. Some argue that he was so anti-war himself that the play gave women a voice quite unintentionally. Some argue that Aristophanes created the role based on the salon madams who hosted luxurious parties for men to wine, dine and, well, you know – suggesting that he was just flattering his, um, companion.


Yet when you fast forward to the present where Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn spin Lysistrata into the our contemporary experience the roles of both the earnest and fun loveable cheerleader, Lyssie J, and the ‘older than time’ earth-mother goddess, Madame Hetaria, embrace the feminist notion that women are people. Both characters are self-aware enough to see the gender divide and manipulate it to their advantage. Instead of accepting the status quo clichés, they inspire EVERYONE around them to see and think differently, to embrace equality, and to simply honor who they truly are.


WHAT A RADICAL IDEA? (And what a valuable lesson for teenagers!)


So to all who are a little anxious that we’re the first high school to stage “the sex strike” musical, worry not. Lysistrata Jones is a bubble gum look at how we see gender, how we glibly categorize people unfairly, and that we can all do a better job seeing and living more truthfully. When you get down to brass tacks, Lysistrata Jones is arguing the same thesis as Shrek. Let your freak flag wave people! After all, no one else can wave it for you, now can they?


That said B’DAT is so happy to have so much room to high kick and shake a tail feather! We’ve waited a long time for a proper dance show. So welcome to our first big musical in our new house! Ya’ll didn’t think we’d go main stream did ya?


Rock on Beacon. We hope you love Athens U as much as we do!


Big Love,


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