‘Lysistrata' puts women in charge
Heidi DuSoleil, right, pleads her case against Lysistrata's method for ending the Peloponnesian War. From left are Andrea Hollowell, Alina Kilpatrick as Lysistrata (front), Erika Patrick and Trinda Freese. (Ross Andreson/Elko Daily Free Press) Andreson

ELKO - There are some battles that take decades to fight - others last centuries, as illustrated in “Lysistrata,” the latest production by Blue Yeti Productions and Silver Stage Players.

“Lysistrata” is not only a play about the efforts by Greece's women to stop the Peloponnesian War on their terms, but many other issues including gender equality and even homeland security. And it all takes place in 411 B.C.

With the Acropolis as its backdrop, “Lysistrata” is an anti-war piece that played heavily upon female stereotypes of the time to create an almost satirical piece in which the women of Athens become sex-starved maniacs in light of their husbands being away at war.

But Lysistrata, played by Alina Kilpatrick, figures out a way to get the warring sides to agree to a treaty, thereby securing Greece as a whole and getting their men back home. It involves using one of man's primary weaknesses against them.

That being said, parental guidance is suggested for those younger than 13 as there are some mature themes. Although no crude and overly descriptive language or nudity are involved, sex is a central element to the story.

Staying power is the mark of any classic play in the theater canon, and Aristophanes - considered by many to be the ancient father of comedy - hit the mark with “Lysistrata” by drawing upon the universal elements of war and the ongoing battle between the sexes.

But more importantly, the main character is a vehicle for a greater message. Until the plays of William Shakespeare, Lysistrata is the only recognized wholly positive female lead in any surviving play.

“There's something about (Lysistrata) that just exudes strength and compassion,” Director Frank Sawyer said.

Sawyer said another thing about “Lysistrata” that appealed to him was its heavy use of female roles for the story development.

“What I wanted to do is something that's a vehicle for SSP's women,” Sawyer said. He also said he wanted to use a play that was non-musical, as many of the previous plays were dominated by male characters. “Lysistrata” features nine female roles.

Kilpatrick is a new face for the players. She comes from South Carolina via Las Vegas and is a deputy public defender for Elko County. Her previous acting credentials include working at Disney World, doing plays such as “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “A Midsummer Night's Dream” and performances in feminist theater during college.

Heidi DuSoleil, who portrays Cleonice, said what got her interested in the play were the significance of the female lead and the play's humor.

“I thought it was hilarious,” DuSoleil said. “What's funnier than women swearing not to have sex?”

Those expecting to see actors and actresses in bed sheets should note attention to detail has been made to the wardrobe in the variety of colors and materials used, matching the different personalities of the characters.

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Staging has been constructed to simulate the exterior of the Acropolis. Attention to such details and implementation of the amphitheater have been critical to the recreation of this Greek classic.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Aug. 21-23 at Great Basin College's Reynolds Amphitheatre.

Matinee shows are at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Aug. 23.

General admission tickets are $7 while students and seniors are $5. Audience members are encouraged to bring picnic items, blankets or other comfortable seating to the amphitheater. Remember that alcohol is not permitted on the campus.

Half of the money from ticket purchases for the Thursday through Saturday shows will go to benefit Elko's Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

Also starring in this production are SSP members Carrie Stephens, Shanelle Millage, Tony Piper, Zachary Volkert, Don Jones, Scott Roberts, Chisholm Morris, Erika Patrick, Lindsey Boner, Andrea Hollowell, Bailey Billington-Benson, Trinda Freese and Michael Bail.

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