Females are some of the most powerful creatures on the planet.
They are often the true life generals behind history’s most famous males and sometimes have the most influential roles themselves.
Take the case of “Lysistrata,” a female protagonist comedy written by Greek dramatist Aristophanes in 411 B.C.
As the Peloponnesian War raged past the midway point of its 25 year duration, the story’s main character, Lysistrata, tried to take matters into the collective hands of all women in order to bring peace and provoke a cease to the conflict.
Bremerton’s Changing Scene Northwest theater brings this dynamic anti-war statement to the stage this month, through May 12. The show debuted April 13 and will be showing weekends at 8 p.m., matinees at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Changing Scene veteran director Jeane Myers is at the helm.
“(Lysistrata) is the story of a woman that is tired of the way her life is and she has an idea and she has the courage to share this idea with other women,” Myers said. “It’s a story of courage and power and armies … it’s a story of people, just trying to find their place in the world.”
And even more so, the main character Lysistrata — played by Changing Scene’s Joan Ford — is trying to see how her standing can influence the world. Discouraged by the war with seemingly no end in sight, she rallies a group of women from local cities and they barricade the public funds building with their biggest “weapon of mass destruction” — sex.
The women held the key to sexual practice, Lysistrata notes, therefore they could harness abstinence as an incentive for their men to seek peace. Across the land, she calls for celibacy in the name of a cease fire.
While in tragedy the women cause catastrophe, in comedy they bring joy.
“Our hope for the show is that people come in, have a good time and leave feeling like they’ve had a good time,” Myers said. “I think everyone will find a way in from their own personal life.”
The anti-war and feminist sentiments which ring throughout the Aristophanes comedy are strong rallying points still today. Four years ago, in response to the United States’ conflict in Iraq, an international peaceful protest involved thousands of readings of the play on one day – March 3, 2003.
The story’s immense philosophic value is complemented by its production value.
In 1961, it served as the basis for what’s been described as a Mozart-like opera “The Happiest Girl in the World.” Then in 1979, an updated version of the play was published.
“A cast of eight is a small cast to do to Lysistrata,” Myers said. “We were challenged on every front … the only person not playing a double role is the lead (Lysistrata).”
But in the face of adversity, Myers said, the young cast stood strong with its passion for theater and energy for physicality and humorous story telling.