For anyone who took Great Books 191, chances are that the latest
play being produced by Factio (the University’s Undergraduate
Classics Club) will conjure nostalgic feelings. This weekend, the
East Quad Auditorium will play host to a swirl of masks and a
parade of togas in “The Acharnians” of
Aristophanes.

Fine Arts Reviews
Stone cold. (Courtesy of RC Players)

“The play (tells) the story of a man named Dicaeopolis,
who is a malcontent Athenian citizen living during the
Peloponnesian Wars with Sparta,” producer Al Duncan said.
“He simply wants the liberties and happiness that come with
peace.”

The anti-war and peace themes of the play are a large reason it
is being performed. “One of the biggest challenges is making
the play palpable to the modern audience,” Duncan admitted.
With the current political situation being as it is, it was felt
that the play would resonate with a modern audience. “I think
there is a lot of anti-war stuff going on around this campus, and
it speaks for the fact that there has always been war and anti-war
movements, and that today isn’t so different from 425
BCE.”

This production tries to stay true to the play’s ancient
Greek roots. The dress consists of togas, the set has a minimal
feel and the characters are distinguished from one other through
the masks they wear. Many classics (Shakespeare, for example) are
taken out of their original time period in an effort to modernize
the play, so the staging of the work in its original form will be,
in the words of Duncan, “at least novel and
unique.”

The script of the play, however, is a modern translation, and
this makes it extremely easy to understand. The comedy will not be
lost to the audience. In fact, Duncan explained that the audience
“can expect a lot of laughs. Not a minute goes by without a
funny line, and the lines are really what carry the
show.”

“The Acharnians” is not only a comedy, but is
actually the oldest theatrical comedy that we have from Western
tradition. It is full of bawdiness and lewd innuendo, everything a
good comedy needs. From a belligerent general to a woman trying to
sell her daughters off as sows, this play promises to provide an
entertaining and lighthearted evening.

“We wanted to do a comedy because people like comedy and
because life gets too down if everyone always does tragedy,”
Duncan said.

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