Book: Douglas Carter Beane
Score: Lewis Flynn
Refuge Theater Project
Unity Lutheran Basketball Court
Director: Justin Brill
Choreographer: Shanna Vanderwerker Lighting: Collin Helou and Jennifer Kules
Costumes: Brian Duncan
Sound Design: Isaac Mandel
The Athens University basketball team hasn’t won a game in 30 years. But when spunky transfer student Lysistrata Jones dares the squad’s fed-up girlfriends to stop “giving it up” to their boyfriends until they win a game, the team’s legendary losing streak could finally come to an end.
This musical adaptation of an Ancient Greek play was presented on the basketball court of Unity Lutheran Church in Chicago, IL.
The challenge with designing a show in a found space is in finding the balance between celebrating the existing space and creating a world for the show to exist in. Lysistrata Jones takes place almost entirely in and around the campus of Athens University and the story features the basketball team over the course of several games. Doing the show on a real live basketball court had its advantages, but there were challenges too. For one thing, gyms echo much more than traditional theaters. To solve this I designed a back wall of sound dampening foam in the school colors of Athens U as well as four rolling fabric panels to absorb sound and define the spaces in the show. The finishing touches were banners “celebrating” the basketball team’s many losses and a set of two benches. The space still gets to be a basketball court but it's our court now.