Saloniki-Greek Press -- January 01, 1931Lysistrata Triumphs in Anglo-Saxon "Garb" Sedles Goes as Far as Law Permits. Norman Bell Geddes, a Flop by Demetrius Glympias
p. 3.- Whilst not possessing everything required to make an Aristophanian play complete, the Lysistrata as performed by the Coburn players, is as good as should be expected under the circumstances. For, had Gilbert Seldes gone two steps farther, in being more true to the original, the hounds of the censors and the furies of the reformers would have swooped upon him mercilessly.
The same cannot be said for the work of Norman Bel Geddes. His stage setting is so hopelessly anachronistic and inappropriate that, were it not for the classical costumes worn by the actors, one would even surmise the setting was intended for a Greek play. It is a drab, coffee-colored structure, in elongated perpendicular lines, monotonously tiring and uninteresting. In short, it is another cubistic eyesore, in the stretched 2meters of a modern city skyscraper, by Bel Geddes, without even an inkling of the rocky massiveness and architectural magnificence of the Acropolis pertained in Aristophanes.
Lest the reader be led to believe that this writer has an aversion for skyscrapers, he wishes to make known, that he has not. In all sincerity, he hails the skyscraper as an outstanding achievement, (distinctly American) in the history of modern Architecture. But its effects cannot lend favor to the setting for a Greek play.
So much for Seldes and Bel Geddes. Now a few remarks about the good work of the actors. Mrs. Coburn, in the stellar role, interprets her part masterly. Her fine acting in this play is reminiscent of her past successes in the roles of Iphigenia, Electra, Antigone and Media. Both she and Mr. Coburn have been devout admirers and tireless workers in the craft of Greek plays for more than two decades.3
Nydia Westman, as Kalonika, is little short of charming. Her appeal for aid to surpress her ardent longings for love can command help from a man any time. The delivery of her lines, "Oh, goddess! ease the pains of labor", exacted a storm of laughter from the audience. Kalonika, you sure are a tropical mamma.
Myrrhina, (Juliette Day) is an amorous dame with jet-black hair. She meets the return of her husband with lots of reluctant affection. She promises all to him. Makes everything ready and then gives him nothing. Poor Kinesias! It was a good thing peace was immediately signed, otherwise--, well 'tis better left unsaid.
Of all the women in the cast representing the different cities of Greece, the women of Corinth were the most painted up. They were painted-up as they used to be in the good old days, with bold dashes of cobalt blue beneath their eye-brows, thick vermilion on their lips and rouge in abundance on their cheeks. They looked the prettiest of all the women in the cast. That is, from a distance. I wonder how the women of Lykoporgia look today.4
We must not forget to mention Lampito, (Hope Emerson), the Spartan woman. She, too, played her part as though she were a regular he-man of the good old days. More power to you Lampito, and Mr. and Mrs. Coburn, we would welcome you back in another Greek play next season.
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