Lysistrata is one of the most famous classical Greek comedies, written by Aristophanes and originally performed in 411 BC in Athens. Lysistrata is often performed, as it provides many roles for women and is regarded as a hilarious battle between the sexes. In the plot, Lysistrata famously persuades the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands until the men negotiate a peace deal.
There are a few dramatic elements that can be helpful to focus on while in a rehearsal room with actors. First, the physicality of the play is a big question in a rehearsal room. How do these women move? How do they attract their husbands, but also reject their sexual advances? This conundrum is a fun, open-ended dramatic element that a creative cast must tackle when performing this play. Secondly, can you pull elements from commedia dell'arte? While commedia dell'arte, an Italian art form, was created long after this play was originally performed, many theater companies tackle Lysistrata through Italian clowning. This practice is extremely physical and often funny, and so the acting technique lends itself to modern interpretations of Lysistrata. Finally, how should you tackle the divided Chorus? This Old Comedy technique is exciting and tricky in Lysistrata. A creative team will need to figure out how they portray the divided Chorus. Will men play the Old Men and will women play the Old Women? Will the cast be divided in gender? Will the cast use masks? These are all questions a team can ask themselves and each other.