If you didn’t catch Headtrick Theatre’s production of The Assembly Women, my condolences that you missed this tremendously entertaining and thought-provoking piece.
The Assembly Women is written by Aristophanes, but Headtrick’s adaptation was adapted and directed by Rebecca Maxfield, and wow does she do an incredible job! Greek theater is hard, and as an English teacher who has been tasked for more than half of her career to bring Greek theater to life, I can see now after watching this show I have failed miserably, and I just wish I was able to bring this production into the classroom. (Although here’s my teacher warning- there is some language in here which would prohibit me from bringing it into the classroom, so be warned this is not a show to bring your tween to.)
In a nutshell, the show’s premise is that everything in Athens would be better if women ran the government, something our narrator, Aristophanes, finds hilarious. Led by Praxoga, the women of Athens manage to wrestle power from the men, resulting in several reforms, including a sexual liberation.
Is there more to this show? Absolutely. Am I going to ruin the show by detailing everything that happens? No not at all. The discussions brought forth in this piece will have you talking far longer than the hour it takes to see the production.
In an ensemble piece it really is difficult to highlight only a few actors, and this talented ensemble makes that even more difficult. Ezra Jordan’s Aristophanes was so hilarious I could literally watch him take on this character as a one man show. Sarah Dunn commands your attention as Praxagora, and her leading man, Blepyrus, played by Ryk McIntyre had the audience in stitches. BYOI’s Audrey Dubois’ comedic chops were on full display throughout the evening. The ensemble also consisted of Tracy Coffey, Cherylee Dumas, JT Cunha, and Sammie Jackson. They were all tremendously talented, and a joy to watch.
I love love love outdoor, minimalist theater. Throw away the fourth wall as this production gleefully has, and I was in theater heaven for the evening. We saw the production at Riff Raff, mainly because I’ve been looking for a reason to visit the bookstore/bar/cafe. (Although now that I’ve been, the Lavender Lemonade should have been all the reason I needed to go!)
Bravo to Maxfield for adapting this piece of ancient theater, and making it relevant to today. An endeavor like this isn’t one that is done overnight, and producing this piece after Roe v. Wade was overturned makes this evening of theater a timeless one indeed. Let this be your reminder to RUN NOT WALK to see their next production, because of its halfway as timeless and entertaining as The Assembly Women was, you’ll be in for a real treat!
The Assembly Women performed at Riffraff Bookstore, the Providence Pedestrian Bridge, and the RISD Museum Gallery. Check out Headtrick’s Facebook page for upcoming productions.