Krystal of the unifying concepts of this production of



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13, 2017


Here’s an idea: Let’s pursue theatre and
music together and dwell in the liberation of art. Better yet, let’s combine
the genius story of Lysistrata and the 90’s Riot Grrrl movement as a concept
and rock out. I, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, had the fortunate experience to see
Lysistrata at Webster University and am happy to share my review of the
production to you. Under the direction of Jaime McKittrick you enter the
theatre and are immediately submersed into the angst world of the Riot Grrl
Movement. There is an honoring of the story’s set time period 411, however it’s
clear and decidedly being told by actors using contemporary language, the use
of collages makes the overall design aspect and direction are precise, clear,
and clean.

The Riot Grrl movement of the early 90’s
is one of the unifying concepts of this production of Lysistrata. Scenic designer
Marissa Todd honors the architecture of Stage III and uses it to her advantage
to approach the Riot Grrrl aesthetic. An addition to the proscenium, a thrust,
gives the looks of an underground music venue. Furthermore, the use of space
and its interesting levels allows for the actors to jump off massive amps and
for the virtuosic movement to stand out. Costume designer Tyler Arnold does an exquisite
job at collaging and period/modern mash up the concept of the show. The conflicting
plaids and strong, controlled color palette strengthen the set. The characters
are modern and trendy like the contemporary text and the music.

exalts the Variety Theatre because as I said, “it is absolutely practical,
because it proposes to distract and amuse the public with comic effects, erotic
stimulation, or imaginative astonishment.” Comparable to a concert, the actors
sang live, danced, moved in swaying motion giving themselves to the lyrics. In
addition, the men march onto the stage to the tune of “I Wanna be Sedated”
revealing bondage-like pouch they place household items in such as a toothbrush,
a 4-ft shower brush, a drill with an egg beater attached to the end, and a play
gun. The idea is that these are phalluses and are incorporated into the set,
the practicality is brilliant and comical! The plot is full of wit, shocking,
laughter, and seeking of the audience’s collaboration. As I’ve said, Variety
Theatre shouldn’t “remain static, but joins the noisily action, in the singing,
communicating with actors in response to their actions”. This adaptation of
Lysistrata, written for the Riot Grrrl’s because they were the most active, and
it’s all coming to the forefront again because of the current social, cultural,
political climate. The art Riot Grrrl’s made was specific to the artists and in
protest to the injustices they witnessed and experienced. “It brings to light
all woman’s marvelous animal qualities, her grasp, her powers of seduction, her
faithfulness, and her resistance.” (Marinetti). The contemporary language
Lysistrata uses further establishes what the women want. When discussed with
McKittrick, she says of the show and modern language, “The play is a protest
play that protests using comedy.”

The aforementioned elements are key to
the success of this production. It is really exciting to see the contemporary
theatre facilitate the techniques my Variety Theatre holds dear. My credo has
always been, “Everything of any value is theatrical.”  These artists have infinite control to express
the strange, to escape the ordinariness of life, and they do it damn well.




Works Cited

F. T. “THE VARIETY THEATER (1913).” Futurism: An Anthology, edited by     Lawrence Rainey et al., Yale University
Press, 2009, pp. 159–164. JSTOR,




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