“An Evening with Aristophanes”: Talk and Performances in the John Miller Burnam Classics Library

On March 28, 2019, faculty and students from CCM and Classics as well as from UCL gathered for an evening of fun, celebrating the life and work of the great Greek comedy playwright Aristophanes (ca. 446-386 BCE), especially his play Lysistrata about a strong and intelligent Athenian woman who hatches an ingenious plan to end the Peloponnesian War. The evening included an engaging expert talk by Susan Prince, Associate Professor of Classics, a recital, masterfully directed by Brant Russell, Assistant Professor of Acting at CCM, and brilliantly acted by graduate students from CCM and Classics, accompanied by superbly played “ancient Greek Dionysian” music, arranged by Yo Shionoya, graduate student at CCM and interim Student, Circulation, and Stack Supervisor in the Classics Library. The evening celebrating not only Aristophanes but also Dionysus, (Modern) Greek Independence Day, the Annunciation of the Theotokos, and the recent accomplishments of American female politicians(!) concluded with a delectable feast of Greek food and “wine”. To enjoy a video recording of the evening, see the link at the bottom of the page.



Tweet by Neville G. Pinto, President of the University of Cincinnati:


Theater in Ancient Athens was performed during festivals to honor Dionysus, the god of wine, fertility, theater, ecstatic dance and music. His attributes included grapes, pine cones, wine cups, vines, ivy, leopard skin. 

Anticipation in the Reading Room of the John Miller Burnam Classics Library.

The house soon filled up!

The celebration began with a talk on Aristophanes, his life and works, by Susan Prince, UC Associate Professor of Classics. 

Last minute directions by Brant Russell, Assistant Professor of Acting at the College-Conservatory of Music.

Actors Cecilia Cozzi (Second Wife and Second Old Woman, Classics), Anastasia Jacques (Lampito, CCM), Cameron Nalley (Herald, CCM), Isabella Wagner (Women’s Leader, CCM), Julianna Weis-Palacios (Women’s Leader, CCM), Zoe Cotzias (Lysistrata, CCM), Michelle Jardine (Calonice and Magistrate, CCM), Abby Palen (Myrrhine, CCM), Jack McElroy (Men’s Leader, CCM), Ted Boivin (Cinesias and Men’s Chorus, Classics), Eirini Paizi (Women’s Chorus and Third Old Woman, Classics), Angelica Wisenbarger (First Old Woman and First Wife, Classics), Liza Lagerstrom (Athenian Wife and Wife, CCM), Emma Fitzgerald (Fourth Wife and Spartan Delegate, CCM).

The three female protagonists, Lysistrata, Calonice, and Myrrhine, debating the Plan.

Musicians Yo Shionoya, Mitchell Rollins, Gabriel Lane — pipes; Mason Harwell — percussion.

The theater goers included several VIP’s such as Xuemao Wang, Dean of Libraries, in the front row. 

“The Dionysian Festival,” the After Party.

Associate professors Daniel Markovich and Susan Prince, Classics, and musician Yo Shionoya discussing the  complexities of ancient Greek choral music. 

Brad Warren, Associate Dean of Library Services, UCL, and Lori Harris, Interim Library Director, Health Sciences Library, enjoying “the festival.”

The New Face of UC Classics, Emilia Barbiero, Assistant Professor, Bridget Langley, Visiting Assistant Professor, Lauren Ginsberg, Associate Professor.

Susan Prince and Lindsay Taylor, Executive Staff Assistant, Classics. 

Daniel Markovich, Associate Professor, and Graduate Student and Actor Eirini Paizi, Classics. 

Home-made Baklava was one of the Hellenic delectables.

Spanakopita another.

Greek near-Wine was also served at the Dionysian festival. 

The Classics Library possesses several rare editions of the works of Aristophanes, including of the Lysistrata, as well as books with illustrations to the play by Aubrey Beardsley, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, and Pablo Picasso. 

Just like at the ancient theater, pinakes were hung all over the Reading Room “Theater” to create the scenery.

Our favorite Aristophanes quotes:



Facsimile of one of the oldest and most authoritative manuscripts (Ravenna 137.4 A) of the works of Aristophanes, including the Lysistrata: Fun and informative Facebook page by classics graduate student Angelica Wisenbarger.


To enjoy the lecture, theater play and music, check out the video:


Unsolicited comment on the YouTube video:

Hi all! My compliments! A great articulated, interesting but also entertaining night! — 

Coordination Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence, Italy.

Blog post by Rebecka Lindau, Head, JMB Classics Library.

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