James Ricks 
Member since Dec 10, 2013


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Re: “Theater Review: Quill’s “Lysistrata” Serves Up Sexual Innuendo and Mixed Messages

Happy October!

Before everyone dismisses this production as being some kind of exercise in female objectification, I'd like to explain a couple of things. Nothing about the portrayal of Peace as a naked woman being used as a map to negotiate the terms of a cease fire is new or a 'directorial choice'. In fact, it comes straight from Aristophanes. I'm also sorry you interpreted it as creepy or uncomfortable. Yes, Peace (or Reconciliation) appears nude before the men as a statue, because the men are so enflamed with desire that Lysistrata knows she can manipulate them with greater ease. If you noticed in the production, once she realizes she has the men where she wants them, Lysistrata leads Peace off the pedestal to safety before the men can do anything about their desires. Lysistrata is in control of the entire scene and has the men right where she wants them. If you would like, I can direct you to any one of the hundreds of translations of this play where the exact same scene is depicted. I think the reason you found it uncomfortable is because you heard the idiotic and vulgar remarks that come from the men and interpreted it as something that is creepy rather than a part of Lysistrata's plan to manipulate these men who are made idiotic by their desire. That is exactly the point. Or maybe you're just uncomfortable with nudity. You're right about one thing, the men's vulgar remarks toward the naked Goddess is not supposed to be hilarious. It is supposed to reveal the absurdity and weakness of the male mind when it comes to sexuality. And it's how Lysistrata wins the day.

And you're mistaken about this being a feminist interpretation of the play. It's actually a pretty straight forward representation of the play with one major change at the end to reinforce the cyclical nature of man and its relationship to war. I really didn't 'recast' the ideas presented by Aristophanes in any way other than offering a slightly more contemporary vernacular and a streamlined chorus representation to play around with gender tropes.

Normally I don't respond to reviews like this, but since you refer to some of the show's directorial choices as 'confounding' and (if I infer this correctly by your final line) 'sexist', then I feel the need to come to the show's defense. Your review gives the impression of someone who is not familiar with the play or its performance history. I suggest you revisit the source material before leveling such criticisms at the director. If you think my version of this show is vulgar and something that falls victim to the male gaze it mocks...boy, oh boy....you should read the original or Germaine Greer's.

As for the ending...ah well...you're not really supposed to like it, I suppose...



James Ricks

13 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by James Ricks on 10/04/2017 at 9:14 AM

Re: “Most Shape-Shifting Theater Space

Cool!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by James Ricks on 05/24/2016 at 4:55 PM

Re: “VOTE TODAY: 2016 Best of Richmond

The site is not letting me vote either... Computer is up to date.
Tried on three browsers...

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by James Ricks on 03/13/2016 at 6:14 PM

Re: “Colors of the Stage

Just out of interest, last year Henley Street Theatre produced a pretty successful production of 'Yellowman' by Deal Orlandersmith. There was a talkback discussion after every single performance, a different panel every night, discussing the trauma of color/gender hierarchies inflicted on African Americans by African Americans. Just thought I'd throw that out there.... :)

25 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by James Ricks on 12/10/2013 at 7:16 PM

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