Tuesday, September 04, 2007

All Greek, All the Time

Ya gotta love Aristophanes. Without him, we'd never have had the chance to laugh at the likes of the Marx brothers, Richard Pryor, Strong Bad or the Honeymooners. Known as "The Father of Comedy," he wrote classic Greek comedies because, well, he was Greek and lived from around 456 BC to 386 BC. And apparently saw a lot of comedy in the people and politics around him, because he wrote lots of plays about them. Funny ones.

A play of his, Peace, written when he was in his late twenties, is being performed by the Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon. The reason you should care is because, first of all, it's happening at the Cerf Outdoor Theatre on the Reed College campus. And who doesn't love good outdoor theater? Second, this adaptation was written and is being directed by Keith Scales, who is, by all accounts, insanely talented. Plus they've got some first-rate local actors lined up for the cast. Third, it's pretty cheap at $20 general admission, less for seniors and students.

And what's it about? The original play dealt with a farmer who got sick and tired of the government and the endless wars they waged (hmmmm....) and decided to fly a dung-beetle to Zeus's place to give him a piece of his mind. In this new version, the farmer is named Trickyass instead of Trygaeus and the part of the dung-beetle is portrayed by a VW bug. The press release says that "the show this year will be a Brechtian, Felliniesque circus, highly physical, very colorful and pretty silly, with lots of music and song."

I've been to a couple of these productions in years past and they're really good...very simple and low-tech but engaging. Did I mention it's outside? Outside is fun.

Details: Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon presents Aristophanes' Peace. Sept. 8-30; tickets $20 general, $15 senior, $10 students, available online. Cerf Outdoor Theatre on the Reed College campus, 3203 SE Woodstock. Phone 503-258-9313.

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