We all know about Oedipus Rex and Electra and all those noble old suffering Greeks with their tragedies and white robes and gouging out of the eyes and all that. Most of the time high school English teachers will make kids read Oedipus (a bad translation, no doubt) and, by the time they get through it the kids all hate Greek drama. Oh, if only they’d teach high school kids about the Satyr Plays--- then Greek scholars would be a dime a dozen. You see, the satyr pays are mostly about SEX. (he he he he) and we all know that high school kids love SEX—Well, thinking about it at least...

The satyr plays were performed after the tragedies in the great Greek amphitheaters. Generally the conflict was: the men vs. the women. The men wanted sex, but the women would not put out unless the men did ____(fill in the blank)____. The plot was complicated by the fact that the women really did want sex so it was hard for them to keep from giving in. Giant prosthetic penises, guys dressed as goats and music with a dance beat were all essential to the dramatic action of the story.

The satyr plays grew out of the older tradition of the dithyramb, a rite of song and dance to celebrate the god Dionysus, who is lord of wine, dance and theatre. (blessed be his name)

The best place to see a modern satyr play is in New York City or London, just get tickets for The Donkey Show.

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