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Lysistrata is a Greek comedy by Aristophanes (c.446 BC – c. 386 BC). First performed in 411 B.C., directed by the author.

Performance history in South Africa

1952: NTO staged a touring production, directed by Leon Gluckman with Vivienne Drummond, Anne McMenamin and Lydia Lindeque. Set by Ronald Philip.

1958: The English text by Dudley Fitts was presented by the University of Cape Town Drama Department at The Little Theatre as part of the UCT Arts Festival, directed by Johan de Meester, 3 to 13 September starring Percy Sieff as the magistrate and Elizabeth Bennett in the role of Lysistrata.

1962: Performed in the original Greek in South Africa by the Athens Drama Company, when Leon Gluckman brought them here to perform at the Civic Theatre with direction by Costis Michaelides, starring Aleka Katselis, Maria Moscholiou and Costas Kazakos.

1967: Presented by CAPAB directed by Laurie van der Merwe and taken on tour to Stellenbosch, Paarl, Worcester, George and Oudtshoorn.

1974: The Company did a version in the Arena Theatre, wih a text adapted and directed by Barney Simon. The cast included Aletta Bezuidenhout (Lysistrata), Jud Cornell (Kalonike), Sue Kiel (Myrrhine), Janice Honeyman (Lampito), Vanessa Cooke (A Boiotian Woman), Lindsay Reardon (Commissioner), David Eppel (Kinesias), Jon Ossher (Herald) and Danny Keogh ( Ambassador).

1980: Presented by The Hermit Theatre, adapted and directed by Clive Rodel, June to July 1980.

1987: Rhodes University Drama Department directed by Roy Sargeant in May.

Late 1980s: Presented by the University of Cape Town Drama Department at the Little Theatre, directed by Marthinus Basson, starring Jennifer Woodburne, Lisa Hall, Sara Matchett, Nazli George, Anita Berk, Wilmien Rossouw, Cheryl Braaf, Judd Millner, Alistair Prodgers, Nigel Maister, Alan Glauber, Christopher Gxalaba. Set designer Reiner Leist, costume designer John Caviggia, lighting design by Anton Burggraaf.

Translations and adaptations

Translated as Lusistrata into Afrikaans by J.P.J. van Rensburg, published by Human & Rousseau, 1970.

Miss Los Istrata is a bilingual (Afrikaans & English) adaptation of Lysistrata by Robin Malan (1972). Malan directed a production by students of the Stellenbosch University Drama Department from1 to 16 September 1972. The large cast included actors such as Dawie Malan, Johann van Heerden, Bettie Kemp, Chris Truter and many others. The music was composed by Deon Bosman.

Lysistrata presented by The Hermit Theatre, adapted and directed by Clive Rodel, June to July 1980.

Lucy Strata by Ben Dehaeck was another adapted Afrikaans version of the play, set in the Cape, and performed at the Kellerprinz Drama Festival in 1986 by the Breughel Theatre Group. Joint winners.

The Afrikaans translation (Lusistrata) by J.P.J. van Rensburg was staged by the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in the Langenhoven Student Centre in 1990. Johann van Heerden was the director.

In September 2003 it was presented again by students of the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department, directed by Marthinus Basson.

The play has been adapted in many ways over the years. For example Dermod Judge wrote Lysistrata S.A. - based om the South African situation in the mid-70s – which was done in 1977 at The Space (Cape Town), with music composed by Alan Hayman and directed by Dorrian McLaren with sixteen actors, five musicians and a singer, including Charles Comyn, Fatima Dike, Andrea Fine, Joe Hartzenberg, Merle Lifson, Liza Mbizela, James Mthoba, Thoko Ntshinga, Sam Phillips, Jacqui Singer and others. The musicians were Ko Eckhart, Alan Hayman, Timmy Kwebulana, Ezra Ngcukana, Ray Perkel. Designer: Dimitri Nicolas-Fanourakis.


Helikon, 1(5):85. 1952.

Voëlvry programme notes, 1967.

Astbury 1979.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Theatre programme (Rhodes 1987) NELM: [Collection: THEATRE PROGRAMMES]: 2012. 285. 1. 173.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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