Lysistrata 2000, Revel Theater Company and Walking By Productions, at Bailiwick Repertory. Sometimes too much is more than enough: Greek novelist Melia Tataki’s rather muddled adaptation of Aristophanes’ antiwar comedy takes wretched excess to new and dizzying heights. While the bawdy original can hardly be called a subtle piece of theater, its economy ensures its continued relevance. The potency of the classical Lysistrata comes from the inferences that can be drawn from the play; what’s left unsaid is infinitely more powerful than the dialogue itself.
Tataki’s dull Lysistrata 2000 brings sexuality to the play’s forefront in a rather grotesque manner. Even the title, which self-consciously points to the modernity of this version, reeks of self-indulgence. But that’s a small bone to pick in comparison to Manolis Manoussakis’s ill-advised staging, which seems to favor the play’s most literal, obvious aspects. Manoussakis’s decision to have the soldiers appear onstage at all times with giant inflatable phalluses is ridiculous enough, but it’s made even more absurd by a scene in which the women of Athens and Sparta fend off their male counterparts by gnawing on these swollen appendages and tying them in knots. There’s something to be said for a production as laughably overblown and cocksure as this one, but it may not be fit to print.