Lysistrata’s desire for love and peace

The National Theater production of Aristophanes’ comedy «Lysistrata» promises to express «the desire for love, endless celebration and a nostalgia for a peaceful life,» as director Costas Tsianos said at a recent press conference. The play will open at the Amphipolis Archaeological Park tomorrow and will then be staged at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus on July 16 and 17. The production is scheduled to travel around Greece during the summer; it will be staged at Athens’s Herod Atticus Theater on September 9 (the performance being part of the Athens 2004 festive program for the Olympic Games) and will travel to the United States in October. Aristophanes presented the comedy in 411 BC while the Peloponnesian War was raging. He managed to add a comic and foul-mouthed twist to serious events and he created one of the most exciting female leading characters of international theater. Lysistrata is an inventive, authoritative, but also generous, harsh, tender, ferocious and erotic woman who is determined to carry out her ingenious plan of sexual abstinence in order to stop the war. «I felt the need to dig into my country’s roots and to awaken memories that stem from the depths of the soul. Folk tradition and carnival rituals helped me out once more. The play begins with a phallic feast, a phallic song, which is interrupted by war,» said Tsianos. Lydia Koniordou plays Lysistrata, in what is «a special moment in her career. This is the continuation of the work I did with Costas Tsianos and the Thessaly Theater on Euripides’ ‘Electra,’ it is just another aspect of the same thing,» she said. «Tragedy and comedy feed one another. What moves me is that this play is highly relevant today, with all the wars waging, especially in Iraq. The performance adds a cry of protest to the insanity of war. The fact that there were public readings of the play last year is not coincidence. As an actor, I feel that I’m always learning, but I can’t hide the pleasure that I had working with experienced comedy artists, whose ‘secrets’ I sometimes stole.» Actors also include Eleni Kastani, Antonis Loudaros, Nikos Bousdoukos, Yiannis Degaitis, Periklis Karaconstantoglou, Nikos Karathanos, Maria Kantife, Vasso Iatropoulou, Eleni Tzortzi and others. The sets and costumes are by Rena Georgiadou, the music is by Christos Leontis and choreography by Fokas Evangelinos. Olympia Kyriakaki is the music coach and lighting is by Spyros Kardaris.