Technical problems can’t stop FAU Theater’s sold out Lysistrata

Maddy Mesa

Dipsas, played by Amanda Otero-Romano, a senior theater major, shows off exercises done by Spartan women to maintain their figures as Lysistrata, played by Abby Perkins, a senior theater major, right, and Sofia, played by Shannon Ouellette, a senior theater major, center, look on. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
Dipsas, played by Amanda Otero-Romano, a senior theater major, shows off exercises done by Spartan women to maintain their figures as Lysistrata, played by Abby Perkins, a senior theater major, right, and Sofia, played by Shannon Ouellette, a senior theater major, center, look on. Photo by Ryan Murphy.

With a colorful set, sexy costumes, and a strap-on that lit up, FAU performed Aristophanes’s Lysistrata in front of a sold out crowd Friday, April 12, in the Studio One Theater.

A sign taped to the door of the Schmidt Center Gallery in Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters Performing Arts Science Building read Lysistrata: Sold Out. Nearly 170 people stood in the auditorium waiting Friday night, April 12, for the theater doors to open.

“I feel great that it was sold out,” said director of the show Laura Wayth. “It’s so nice because they’ve been working so hard It’s so nice to have such a good audience.”

Lysistrata is the first show this season to be sold out, according to House Manager Lysette Pérez.

But at ten minutes to seven, showtime, Pérez announced to the audience that they would have to wait just a little longer before taking their seats, as the crew were having some “technical difficulties.”

“The technical difficulties we had tonight was the sound system because it’s a mic-ed show and sometimes we run into problems,” said stage manager Ashley Horowitz. “If there is any kind of costume problem, or sound problems, or light problems, we’ll hold the audience from coming in or we’ll hold the show a little bit so everything can flow like it should.”

In the audience that night was lyricist and composer of Lysistrata, Matty Selman.

“I’m very excited about it. The FAU students are doing a great job,” said Selman. “We did an earlier version at ART (American Repertory Theatre) about ten years ago. But the book was a little bit different and we didn’t have as many songs in it. But in a way this is kind of like a premier of the material.”

Despite the twenty-five minute delay, the show started with energy as the entire company sang “Days of Grecian Vases,” giving a little back history to the play.

Men of Athens and Sparta have been at war for twenty years and Athenian housewife Lysistrata, played by senior theater major Abby Perkins, is fed up with it.

So she asks the women of Athens to meet and hear her plan, but is upset at their laziness and their lack of interest in ending the war.

Women of Greece and Sparta offer a wine sacrifice to the gods for their oath to withhold sex. Though initially doubtful, the women agreed to abstain from having sex with their husbands in order to end the Peloponnesian War. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
Women of Greece and Sparta offer a wine sacrifice to the gods for their oath to withhold sex. Though initially doubtful, the women agreed to abstain from having sex with their husbands in order to end the Peloponnesian War. Photo by Ryan Murphy.

“Won’t you join me and end this war?” Lysistrata pleads.

The women of Athens (played by Sujotta Pace, Marquita Davis, Joanna Mandel, Katy Slaven, and Shannon Ouellette) and the women of Sparta and Corinth (played by Jenna Wyatt and Amanda Otero Romano respectively) are eager to end the war.

That is, until they hear the catch — withholding having sex with their husbands.

She tells the women to dress themselves in their most provocative clothing and wear their sweetest perfumes to lure the men. Then, when the time is right, make up excuses why they can’t have sex.

The play continues with the women taking an oath to not have sex until there is peace in Greece and the men slowly piecing together they will not be having sex any time soon.

The actors received laughs and many applauses after each song and dance number.

The women of Athens brought sass and authority to the stage in their high heels and flowing dresses while the men brought humor with their cockiness and their giant strap-on penises, which added to the obvious innuendos of the play.

The actors were accompanied by a live band conducted by Caryl Fantel. Soulful songs like “Stranger to Children” and “Weather” sung by the women reflected the serious tone of play and the effects war has had on their county and children.

The President of Senate, played by Alex Salup, a senior theater major, backed by men and women of Greece and Sparta sings through the legs of Penelope, played by Joanna Mandel, a senior theater major, during the final song of Lysistrata. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
The President of Senate, played by Alex Salup, a senior theater major, backed by men and women of Greece and Sparta sings through the legs of Penelope, played by Joanna Mandel, a senior theater major, during the final song of Lysistrata. Photo by Ryan Murphy.

In “If We Don’t Sleep With Our Men, Who Will?” the women express their fear and doubts that the sex strike will actually work.

Lysistrata comforts them saying all women in Greece shall withhold shouting, “Unity, unity, victory through solidarity!”

Other songs like “Oh Athens” and “It’s a Man’s World” performed by the men lighten up the mood of the show.

There were a few laughs at first. The sound problems made it difficult to catch every line and every pun.

But by the time the old men (played by Doug Wetzel, Sam Streich, Dani Mason, Kayla Smith, and Katelyn Elliott) came out wearing strap-on penises the audience was roaring.

“The play was better than I thought it was going to be,” said Debra Myers, a junior math major who saw the play for a class assignment. “I thought it was going to be more old Greek, but it was actually new, modern, and fun.”

Without giving away any spoilers, the end of the play may come as a surprise.

“I think the message of Lysistrata resonates now in a lot of ways,” said Selman. “Sadly we are never too far away from any war, any kind of conflict.”

“The message I got was that we have wars all the time and that it’s really not necessary and sometimes it can be handled so simply as they showed in the play,” said Giuseppe Barioli, a sophomore exercise science and health promotion major. “That’s the message I received from the play.”

Lysistrata will continue next week Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21 at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for faculty, staff, and alumni, $12 for FAU students, and $14 (per person) for groups of 15 or more. For more information, visit FAU’s theatre website here.