Classical: Battle of the sexes

‘Lysistrata X’ is a futuristic version of the ancient Greek satire.

By MAXIM REIDER
June 3, 2015 15:59
2 minute read.
Lysistrata X

Lysistrata X. (photo credit: IMANUELLA AMICHAI)

 
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Director and choreographer Emanuella Amichai, one of this country’s most intriguing artists, will present the Israeli premiere of Lysistrata X, her free adaptation of the biting comedy by Aristophanes. Its world premiere took place in Athens last September, where it was awarded the Quality Label of the European Move Award.

Written in 411 BC, the satire centers on the sex strike that the women of Athens and Sparta declared against their husbands in protest to the prolonged war between the two cities. Amichai’s futuristic show, which includes video fragments and lighting effects, will be presented on June 11 at Beit Mazia in Jerusalem as part of the Israel Festival. It was originally created for a conference dedicated to post-modernist interpretation of Greek tragedy that took place in Greece last summer.

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“For me, this is about power – women’s power. Does it exist at all and how is it applied? In the original play, the world returns to its traditional order, and the women retreat. But I kept thinking, ‘How would the world look if women ruled it?’ There are quite a few theories about it. So my rendition of the story is only loosely based on Aristophanes’s play and depicts a highly technological world of the future, ruled by women,” says Amichai.

“The show is a fusion of theater, performance, dance and video art.

This is a multimedia show that takes place in the far future or maybe on some other planet where the women’s gender-based protest has led not to a peace agreement but to a revolution that has relinquished control of the world’s political, cultural and military mechanisms to a superhuman female entity. For this, together with video artist Ran Slavin, we created a new language that expresses the ideas of our rendition. I should say that this new world is built on remnants of Aristophanes’s text but preserves its major points,” explains the artist.

Lysistrata is clearly an anti-war piece. Did Amichai choose it, from the entire corpus of ancient Greek plays, because we live in the corner of the world where war never ends? Is this her personal message, her call for peace? “We started preparations for the show last summer during Operation Protective Edge, and the rehearsals were accompanied by the howling of sirens, so maybe this reality somehow infiltrated into the subconscious. But again, this is not that univocal. For me, this is a play about power and struggle. In Lysistrata, there are several aspects of struggle – the political war between the two Greek cities, the struggle between genders and even within the gender – because the women fight among themselves, too. I should say that for me these are my reflections on power – what power is about, who holds it and how one can use it.

Also, nowadays technology gains more and more power over our lives – and this is just another aspect of our production,” concludes Amichai.

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She says that her multimedia approach provides her with additional opportunities for research and expression of her ideas.

Lysistrata X will be performed on June 11 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Beit Mazia in Jerusalem. For more details and reservations: http://israelfestival.org/en/

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