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Theatre Fri Feb 12 2010

Bernie Sahlins directs Lysistrata @ Victory Gardens

sahlins by Jane Nicholl Sahlins copy.jpgBernie Sahlins, well known as one of the founders of the original Second City in Chicago as well as for his work on SCTV, is collaborating with The Poetry Foundation to mount a staged reading of Aristophanes' Lysistrata later this month. This is not the first time that Sahlins has collaborated with The Poetry Foundation and won't be the last; a staged reading of Seamus Heaney's The Cure at Troy is scheduled in May.

It may seem incongruous for a man known for his comic sensibility to be interested in bringing to the stage a piece of writing that uses the bloody Peloponnesian War as its background, and was first performed in Athens in 411 B.C.E. "It's a great play that has survived intact for over 3,000 years, and deserves to be done," Sahlins said of Lysistrata, "and deals with subject matter and events that could have been written yesterday. It's a feminist play; the female characters in it are worthwhile, it is not a museum piece." If you think the language used by Aristophanes will be a barrier to your twenty-first century ears, think again: "The language is interesting -- there are the same taboos on language in Lysistrata that we have today, it was written as a popular comedy and the language used is worthy of censorship on some current cable TV shows."

The piece will be read aloud by costumed actors reading from text, and in Sahlin's experience, after a few minutes you'll forget that you're watching a staged reading and become completely engrossed in it. "We've had a number of readings," he said, "and I'd say 80 percent of the audience stays afterward to discuss the piece."

Lysistrata will be performed at the Victory Gardens Studio on Sunday, February 21 and Monday, February 22 at 7:30, and The Cure at Troy will be performed on Sunday, May 23 and Monday, May 24 at 7:30. Tickets are $20, $10 for students. For information and tickets call Victory Gardens Studio at 773-871-3000 or visit The Poetry Foundation or Victory Gardens Studio.

 
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