All posts by GaryCBeck

Three Plays by Aristophanes Review – Sarah Mackey Kirby (Impspired)

(As directed by Gary Beck)

In Aristophanes, Beck and Oliensis bring creativity and wit to three of the Ancient Greek playwright’s comedies. The book comprises three plays: The Women in Assembly, The Birds, and Lysistrata. Their translations animate the political satire and antics laden plots characteristic of his writing. And while reading these, it’s easy to picture and feel life in the polis. While the plots have a heavy dose of absurdity (in a good way), that absurdity serves to enlighten the audience and criticize the powers that be about war, political events, and everyday Athens.

 

The first play, The Women in Assembly, follows Praxagora on her scheme to put women in charge of the Athenian government. Beck and Oliensis capture the reforms she wants instituted. As the play unfolds, readers and audiences are immersed in how Athenian government works and the roles of women and men in society (and how changes to it could change life in Athens). There is a tangible energy that shines through.

 

In The Birds, the second play translation, Pisthetaerus and his friend, Euelpides set out to find the former Thracian King Tereus who’d transformed into Epops, a hoopoe bird and King of the Birds. Having become frustrated with Athens, they wanted wisdom and guidance about where to go to begin life anew. The events and exchanges leading to their meeting him are very funny, and the two men come up with the idea that the birds should create their own city in the sky because it is they (the birds) and not the Olympic Gods who are divine.

 

The play continues as a farcical and captivating story that is enjoyable until the end. The Chorus, typical to Old Comedy structure, elevates the play. This translation does justice to Aristophanes and his gift with satire, and the pictures of the bird costumes they include after the script add to it.

 

In the last play, Beck and Oliensis translate Lysistrata. With the goal of saving Greece by ending war (the Peloponnesian War), Lysistrata convinces women in Athens and in other city-states, including Sparta, to join together and refuse sex to all men until they stop fighting. The play goes on to show what happens after the women agree. This play, anti-war and rich with satire, brings sharp humor and undertones of seriousness. However, the sexual content is pervasive throughout, so performing the play may be a bit more challenging than the first two.

 

Readers and no doubt audiences to a staged production, should enjoy these lively and funny plays. Aristophanes is a collection of quality translations that bring to life the Ancient Greek playwright’s wonderful works of classic comedy.

 

Protective Agency

by

Gary Beck

For Immediate Release

In Protective Agency a soldier/scholar, Matt Clairborne joins a new government organization The Protective Agency, created to defend schools from rampagers. Retired military and police are trained, then assigned to schools. There are humorous and tragic incidents as we follow the men and women through their training and assignments. Matt rises to a position of importance and distinguishes himself during a violent attack on a school. The Agency plans rapid expansion to meet future terrorist threats to the schools.

Protective Agency is a 286 page novel in paperback priced at $20.00, ISBN: 8194900387 published byCyberwit Publishing. For  info or to request a review copy,
c0ntact: cyberwit@gmail.com

https://www.amazon.com/dp/8194900387

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn’t earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and his published books include 29 poetry collections, 12 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 3 books of plays. Published poetry books include:  Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings, The Remission of Order, Contusions and Desperate Seeker (Winter Goose Publishing. Forthcoming: Learning Curve). Earth Links, Too Harsh For Pastels, Severance, Redemption Value, Fractional Disorder and Disruptions (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Ignition Point). His novels include Extreme Change (Winter Goose Publishing). State of Rage, Wavelength and Protective Agency (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Obsess). His short story collections include: A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing) and Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Essays of Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing). The Big Match and other one act plays (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume 1 and Plays of Aristophanes translated, then directed by Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume II). Gary lives in New York City..

Cyberwit Publishing seeks to publish the best in poetry from novices to established poets. Our published Anthologies and Journal Taj Mahal Review have poems that are sensuous, picturesque and impassioned. The poems reveal a fine combination of human elements of romance and the mystic & everyday realities. Cyberwit has published a myriad of new poets, and an increasingly large number of collections of verse. The significance of Poetry has not declined, and the 21st century seems to be the Golden Era of English Poetry. The name of Cyberwit is known to readers in several countries. www.cyberwit.net  

Record Magazine Review of Three Plays of Aristophanes translated by Gary Beck

By Zeus, Sex Violence and, Action! A review of Aristophanes Three Comedies Translated by Gary Beck and Jane Oliensis.

 

There is a mirthful brutality in the speech. Male and female, for the soul of Greece. Deigning to face authority, man woman or God(ess) all are subject to a thrashing. Whether it is to build a place in the sky for men to live as birds or to stop wars by withholding sex.

The true joy of these plays is to witness, walk among them and their bombast for them will not back down. Or the talk among the plotters and their audacious schemes. The more outrageous the better.

Upon the speech of Praxagora prepare to march around the theatre to face down war mongers bureaucrat and lawyers from a call to arms from the back row. To give up your worldly possessions for I am of an age that making love to an older woman or a younger woman it doesn’t matter who engage me first. Forgetting it is a book of plays/translations, Aristophanes Three Comedies is wicked fun and my suggestion is to partake in other works by Gary Beck at a theatre near you.

Godrey Logan, Chicago Record Magazine