Puppets on a string and a prayer help those in need
By Carey Weinberg
It takes Sister Corona two years to produce a play as she has to stitch the actors eyes on. She actually stitches the entire actor together because she and her troop are staging Lysistrata with puppets.
Aristophanes' Lysistrata first performed in 411 B.C., revolves around the efforts of Lysistrata who attempts to thwart the ongoing war between Athens and Sparta by initiating a sex strike. Essentially, there is no laying in each others' arms until the men lay down their arms.
This play is still relevant to the women's movement according to Sister Corona, "in those days, it was totally impossible for women to get any political clout, or ever succeed at anything the sex strike was the only weapon that's left for them." Sans political influence, sans social standing, sans? anything, women were left to solicit power from creative resources. "They weren't allowed in the theatres, we're told."
And the men in the play claim they learned their attitudes towards women from their fathers. This kind of justification for misogyny is relevant, as the same excuse is used for certain misogynistic ideologies.
Lysistrata, the play, is bawdy, funny and relevant. For her production, Sister Corona utilizes the art of puppetry which she has used to teach and delight since the '60s. The puppets themselves are wholly and completely the character they are portraying. Usually in drama it is a person pretending to be a different character, but there is no pretense within puppetry.
There is a misconception that puppets should be relegated to children's theatre. Historically speaking, puppetry is a high art form, dating back thousands of years.
"You can hide behind a puppet and in hiding, one is freer than a stage actor," says Sister Corona in reference to the strength of puppetry as an art form.
She spoke of the phenomena of past performances where audience members were absorbed by the presentation and literally forgot it was puppets they were watching.
Proceeds collected from the performances go to the London Food Bank, a cause Sister Corona wishes to address immediately. The best weapon against adversity is laughter, not to mention puppetry.
Lysistrata is being performed at Brescia College Auditorium today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.