I remember seeing the entire production live at the now-closed Groton theater in Connecticut 30 years ago – and I remember well the thrill of catharsis after experiencing the day-long ordeal. I have also enjoyed Peter Hall’s 1980’s British staging but found that this new staging on DVD gave me insights into many aspects of the drama which I had not noticed.
“The 300” blockbuster movie and the recently released “Lysistrata” are not just different – they’re opposites. In watching both films, I’m struck by how similar the mise-en-scene and how opposite the message.
The joy of The 300 is in reveling in the gore, the revenge and the balletic slaughter that is male testosterone. It’s the nihilistic primordial myth that celebrates male violence as the indispensable defender against the bestial Persian horde. The joy of Lysistrata is in imaging a world beyond all this male violence – a world where woman are on top and war is no longer necessary – a world where male hormones are harnessed and female sexuality triumphant.