“Lysistrata” by Aristophanes- Live Filmed by Pear Theatre

Preview Lysistrata Kingdom

PEAR THEATRE PRESENTS “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes in an eight-person, live-filmed production October 16 — November 8, 2020

Pear Theatre’s 2020-21 season continues with the classic Lysistrata, Aristophanes’ comedy about women enacting a sex strike to convince their husbands to end war (translation/adaptation written by Carolyn Balducci). This show, directed by Betsy Kruse Craig, will be filmed live, outdoors, with an eight-person cast and presented digitally October 16 through November 8. Tickets ($30-37) and information are available by visiting www.thepear.org/season-19 or by calling (650) 254-1148.

(left-right) Tyler Jeffreys, Treya Dionne Brown, Amitis Rossoukh

While many of the play’s themes have remained as relevant as they were in Aristophanes’ time, Pear Theatre will be taking the opportunity to also explore the breadth of what gender means today in this production. Lysistrata uncovers the power of sex, the personal sacrifices some will make for the sake of peace, and the hilarity that can come from it all. What would you do — or not do — for peace in our time?

Lysistrata is one of the greatest comedies ever written,” said playwright and translator Carolyn Balducci. “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.” 

Natashia Denee Marshall (center) between Samanta Ricci (left) and Tyler Jeffreys (right)

In the play, one woman of Greece sets out to end the decades-long Peloponnesian War by enlisting the aid of the stay-at-home spouses (on both sides of the conflict) in withholding 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 — particularly 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? Will cooperation triumph over competition? Can coexistence provide more lasting rewards than dominance? Does the ultimate power actually lie in giving someone the gift of intimacy and acceptance?

(left-right) Samantha Ricci, Treya Dionne Brown, Amitis Rossoukh

This particular production is a perfect example of theatre in the time of Covid — what many are referring to as “building the car while driving it.” Auditions and callbacks are being held digitally, as will the majority of rehearsals. In the final week, the eight cast members — playing multiple roles — will meet outdoors (in true Greek tradition) to rehearse together, culminating in the live filming of the production. In addition to the production itself, Lysistrata will also offer ‘Backstage Pass’ digital materials: interviews and behind-the-scenes looks at the production, live digital events such as talk-backs, and other opportunities for patrons to connect to one another and to the artists involved.

Former Pear Artistic Director Betsy Kruse Craig directs this production. Kevin Davies designs the props, Melissa Sanchez provides costumes, and Kelly Weber Barraza stage manages. The cast, all playing multiple roles, includes Cynthia Lagodzinski (Lysistrata), Nicole Martin (Kalonike), Amitis Rossukh (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).

Samantha Ricci

Pear Theatre began as the Pear Avenue Theatre in June 2002, under the leadership of Artistic Director Diane Tasca, by a group of theatre artists who believe that audiences are eager for plays that challenge as well as delight and move them. Pear Theatre produces intimate theatre by passionate artists, whether classic works or musical revues or cutting-edge plays. Now in its nineteenth season, the Pear attracts theatre artists and audience from all over the Bay Area for its award-winning and high-quality productions; and its ongoing commitment to excellence was recognized by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle with the Paine Knickerbocker Award,an annual special award for a Bay Area company contributing to the high quality of theatre in the region. 

Pear Theatre moved in 2015 from its original 40-seat warehouse space to a new, state-of-the-art black box theatre close by, with capacity of 75-99 seats depending on the configuration of the production. After two years of growth under Artistic Director Betsy Kruse Craig, Pear Theatre is newly under the leadership of its third Artistic Director, Sinjin Jones.

FOR CALENDAR EDITORS: 

WHAT: Pear Theatre will mount a new interpretation (Carolyn Balducci) of a comic classic, Lysistrata by Aristophanes: exploring the power of women during wartime. This ancient standard uncovers the power of sex, the strength of the feminine spirit, the personal sacrifices some will make for the sake of peace, and the hilarity that can come from it all. What would you do — or not do — for peace in our time? Pear Theatre charts the breadth of what gender means today in this production.

Lysistrata will be filmed live, outdoors, and presented in digital format. Betsy Kruse Craig directs. The eight-person cast, all playing multiple roles, includes Cynthia Lagodzinski (Lysistrata), Nicole Martin (Kalonike), Janine Evans (Myrrhine), Tyler Jeffreys (Lampito), Becca Gilbert (Ismenia), Treya Dionne Brown (Corinthian and Head of the Old Women’s Chorus), Natasha Denee (The Commissioner), and Sam Ricci (Kinesias and Head of the Old Man’s Chorus).

This is a reimagined classic: Lysistrata by Aristophanes is a hilarious tale that explores the power of women during wartime. A new interpretation of this ancient standard explores the power of sex, the strength of the feminine spirit, the personal sacrifices some will make for the sake of peace, and the hilarity that can come from it all. What would you do — or not do — for peace in our time? Pear Theatre explores the breadth of what gender means today in this production.

Cynthia Lagodzinski 

WHEN: October 16 through November 8, 2020

Show video available beginning October 16, 2020.

“Backstage Pass” videos posting before and after October 16.

Press members may receive access to the video prior to “opening.”

WHERE: Vimeo – password-protected link provided upon ticket purchase.

Purchase of a ticket allows access to the link throughout the ‘run’.

TICKETS: $37 for Opening Night (comes with a small gift), $34 regular, $30 senior / student / educator.

Tickets will grant access to a password-protected video of the show as well as behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, talk-backs, and other exclusive materials.

For more info, visit The Pear or call (650) 254-1148.

Photos: John Deven

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