Indeed, as the evening grew longer and longer, the play became a study in how good political intentions add up to nothing in the ruthless world of art. With the exception of the music and some charming Middle Eastern dancing, the show was utterly bereft of technical prowess. The set was a crudely painted backdrop of the Capitol. The costumes, as ungraceful as those of an elementary school play, kept falling off the actors. The acting involved a lot of flouncing; performers regularly stepped on one another's lines. And the direction -- which should be an invisible art -- drew attention to itself with awkward pacing, bad blocking, and an overall lack of enunciation.

Pamela Beitz as Lysistrata, one of the few trained actors in the bunch, did her best with lots of perky energy and generous eye contact, but she had little chance of salvaging a truthful moment from the theatrical pall around her. In the end, the effect was simply sad. The carnival of lechery and blue-ball jokes failed in its profound desire to be a pro-sex, anti-war interpretation of the famed Greek satire, and succeeded in evoking only that small-screen melange of big boobs and cornball humor, Hee Haw.

-- Carol Lloyd

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