(Man) Love and War

Given the Iraqi quagmire that he's entrenched in, would Donald Rumsfeld ever consider "emergency homosexuality" as a way to bolster the troops? We're guessing nay, but that's the question Greek military leaders are faced with in Unhinged Productions' new comedy, (Loosely) Lysistrata.

Local ophthalmologist Stewart Zuckerbrod -- who moonlights as a playwright -- penned the script after falling in love with prolific German comic Ralf König's graphic novel Lysistrata. König's novel is based on Aristophanes's ancient comedy -- except that his main characters are all gay.

The opening of (Loosely) Lysistrata finds the Grecian provinces of Athens and Sparta engulfed in a bitter war. Athenian Lysistrata and her Spartan girlfriend Lampito manage to convince all the women in Greece to withhold nooky from their husbands until a peace treaty is signed. The plan seems foolproof. Problem is, the Athenian gay men have convinced the army to institute "Operation Buddy Relief" to succor the suffering soldiers. (So much for Don't Ask, Don't Tell.)

What follows is a kooky comedy of errors in a story chock-full of references to Greek mythology, Mommie Dearestand even Viagra. And in addition to the show's prevalent antiwar sentiment, there's plenty more that will get hawks' camouflage panties in a wad. "This is as much about gay rights as it is antiwar," Zuckerbrod says. "Lysistrata wants to end the war so she can be with her girlfriend. Hepatitos, the main male character, wants to gain respect for gays." In Zuckerbrod's rendering, Hepatitos is a famous drag queen who performs a snappy number as Helen of Troy. "She was probably that period's Cher," he muses. (Fabulous!)

So just how bawdy have Zuckerbrod and director Kenn McLaughlin made this show? "I would call this R-rated," says Zuckerbrod. "There's a planned costume malfunction with one of the women and a lot of beefcake. But this is not Naked Boys Singing! or a sex spectacle." No, this is a comedy of love and war that just happens to present some serious questions about our current situation overseas. "But the bottom-line message here," says Zuckerbrod, "is 'Make love, not war.'" Even if that love is boy-boy and girl-girl. 7:30 p.m.
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