Friday, June 29, 2018

Lisistrata at New Muses

By Alec Clayton
Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 28, 2018
Cast of Lisistrata, Cassie Jo Fastabend as Lisistrata standing in center, courtesy New Muses Theatre

Well over 2,000 years ago the city of Athens, Greece was treated to a sexy and hilarious anti-war farce called Lisistrata by the writer Aristophanes. Now it is making its way to Tacoma’s Dukesbay Theater in an anonymous adaptation believed to have been by Oscar Wilde, directed by Niclas Olson and produced by New Muses Theatre.
Lisistrata — perhaps the first great feminist activist in history — rallies fellow Greek women to refuse sexual favors until their husbands end the Peloponnesian War. Aiding in her movement is the Spartan woman Lampito.
The title character will be played by Cassie Jo Fastabend, a veteran of many South Sound stages and a longtime teacher of youth arts. She has been seen in Macbeth and Lear at the Slate Theater in Seattle, Hamlet and A Streetcar Named Desire at University of Puget Sound, A Few Good Men, at Lakewood Playhouse.
Lampito is played by LaNita Walters, most recently seen in My Fair Lady at Tacoma Musical Playhouse. Walters is a teaching artist for the Broadway Center and choreographer and director for various plays and children camps. She is also the choreographer for this play.
Amber Sayman (Ismenia) was most recently in Olympia Family Theatre’s Cinder Edna. Kaylie Hussey (Corinna) was in The Servant of Two Masters and Doctor Faustus at New Muses and Macbeth and The Great Gatsby at Tacoma Little Theatre. Mason Quinn (Magistrate) was most recently in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance at Tacoma Little Theatre. Nathaniel Walker (Cinesias) was recently in The Pillowman at TLT.
“Two years ago I was considering Lysistrata as a fun comedy, but fast forward to now, it is an important social piece with immediate cultural relevance. It interests, and saddens me that a 6000-year-old play can still be relevant to our current political and social climate,” Olson says. “Especially now, with women's rights bursting to the forefront of the national consciousness via the Women's March and the #MeToo movement, seeing Lysistrata is to experience a story about a whole lot more than a sex strike. I'm especially fascinated with the journey the women of Greece take as they become leaders of their society through the course of the play. On a lighter note, the play is a whole lot of fun. We have everything including comic fight scenes, witty banter, and anatomically correct prop/costume pieces.The cast keeps coming up with new stuff every day, and it's been a real pleasure for me to see the script take on a life of its own through the actors.”
As a final note, Olson warns: “The play is definitely not family friendly. We are using the traditional phalluses, and the cast spends a good portion of the show in their underwear.
Lisistrata, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, June 29-July 15, $10-$15, Dukesbay Theater, above the Grand Theater, 508 S. 6th Ave., Tacoma

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