August 10, 2009

And Now for a Complete Change in Tone: Lydia Diamond and LIZZIE STRANTON

I have a huge girl crush on Lydia Diamond. She is smart, lovely, funny and genuine, and, as we learned during her Breaking Ground reading Tuesday night, she can tell a good dirty joke. It’s like I died and went to dramaturg heaven.

Lydia’s brand spankin’ new comedy, Lizzie Stranton, is a very loose adaptation of the Greek classic, Lysistrata. Now, for those of you who don’t remember your freshman intro to drama class, the original tells the story of a group of Greek women who decide to boycott sex until their men stop the Peloponnesian War. If you haven’t read it, edumacate yourself.

Lizzie Stranton takes place in 2016, and the first lady, a woman who just so happens to resemble the ever girl-crush worthy Michelle Obama, exhorts the women of the world, a group far less repressed/oppressed than the women of ancient Greece to, well, you know.

The great joy of Lydia’s play is its earthy and genial humor. Jokes about sex (and women) are the staple of every slick and cynical stand-up comic (and the movies they make). So this particular mature-themed comedy is notable in how it combines truly filthy jokes without gratuitous exploitation. But fundamentally this play is not about sex; it’s about the long war and the seemingly unanswerable question of how to end it.

The draft we heard read on Tuesday is a fairly early one so there was much to be learned about how the text plays. Afterward, Lydia turned to me and said, “This play needs an instigating event.” Did I mention dramaturg heaven?

-Lisa Timmel, Director of New Work

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