February 26, 2003 — Faculty, staff, and students of the University of Utah Department of Language and Literature and Department of Theatre are joining a global anti-war effort by presenting Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata. Part of the “Lysistrata Project,” a grassroots coalition that has coordinated worldwide readings of the play on March 3, 2003, the goal is to mobilize international theatrical communities to debate the issues of the Bush administration’s war on Iraq. New York actors Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower conceived the project in early January of this year.
Lysistrata, a 2,300-year-old Greek comedy, tells the story of a woman who organizes a stand against war, getting women on both sides of the conflict to withhold sex from their husbands until the men agree to sign a peace treaty.
To date, 756 readings are scheduled in 43 countries for Monday, March 3. Two local performances of the play will be held that day. Both are free and open to the public. The first production will be at 12 noon at the U’s Olpin Union Ballroom. A student cast will be directed by Erin O’Connell, with the part of Lysistrata played by Margaret Toscano. Elizabeth Manwell is the dramaturge. The second reading will be at 7 p.m. at the new Main Library Auditorium, 210 East 400 South. The cast will include faculty from the University of Utah Department of Theatre and members of the Salt Lake Community. They include: former State Representative Karen Shepherd; Gene Pack, retired host of KUER; Greta DeJong, editor of Catalyst; Pat Bagley, cartoonist for The Salt Lake Tribune; journalist Holly Mullen, of The Salt Lake Tribune; and Marilyn Holt, former chair of the U’s Department of Theatre. James Svendsen is the dramaturge for this performance, with Linda Brown directing.
Linda Brown, director of the production at the downtown library, says, “Theatre is a wonderful vehicle for voicing our opinion. We can complain. We do have a voice. And we are voicing our dissent of Bush’s agenda in Iraq on March 3 of this year.”
For additional information on the local productions of Lysistrata, call the U’s Department of Theatre at 801-581-5404, or go to http://www.pecosdesign.com/lys/.