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re: The Frogs
Posted by: showtunetrivia 11:19 am EDT 10/10/20
In reply to: The Frogs - OriginalTopherP 02:15 pm EDT 10/08/20

Late 1982 or early 1983, the Odyssey Theatre in LA. They had a wading pool on stage. I was in bliss throughout, because: I figured I’d never see it staged; my PhD in ancient history orals were scheduled for June, and I was desperate for any distraction; I’d even translated some Aristophanes (THE BIRDS, not THE FROGS).

I have only seen film clips of the Nathan Lane revisal, but as someone with plenty of background in Greek history and classical theatre, I am confident that Aristophanes would have loved it. Elsewhere in this thread, someone felt it was heavyhanded. De gustibus, of course, but Aristophanes—in all his work—was never light and gentle. His motto was “Stick it to the man.” His work is laden with jabs, ribbing, and skewering of the political, social, and cultural scenes of his era. I think Lane channeled the snarkiest of our Greek playwrights here, piling on the Bush administration so high snd deep, the referees ran out of yellow flags. As a work of the moment, it’s spot-on, as were Aristophanes’ pieces targeting the demagogue Kleon, Athenian imperialism in Sicily, and Socrates.

I suspect, in decades to come, that THE FROGS will continue to attract some attention, because Sondheim, Shakespeare, and Shaw are eternal. Nobody today, save history nerds know about Kleon. But I wonder how much of Lane’s Bush satire will fall by the wayside, as the details of his administration fade in memory. Aristophanes’ best known plays are THE FROGS, THE CLOUDS, and LYSISTRATA, since his targets Aeschylus, Euripides, and Socrates are likewise eternal, and everyone understands the premise of LYSISTRATA, even if they don’t know a damn thing about the Peloponnesian War.

Laura
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