PATERSON, NJ - The Theater Department of Passaic County Community College announces this year’s annual spring production,  Assembly of Women, a modern version of the Aristophanes comedy about a community in which women take over the government and attempt to create a utopia. 

Performances are April 17-20 at 7:30 pm in the PCCC Theater on the Paterson campus.  Entrance is on Ellison Street and Memorial Drive.  Admission: $5.00 Tickets may be purchased at the door. For advance reservations, call 973-684-6413. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Professor R.G. Rader directs student actors, most of whom are theater majors at PCCC, in this ancient yet very modern comedy about gender issues and the futility of human efforts to create a perfect society.  Assembly of Women tells the story of a community in which a group of women, led by activist Praxagora, infiltrates and takes over the male-dominated government, believing they can do a better job than the men.

In their comical perversions of democracy, the new leaders replace the economic and social structure of their city. All property becomes communal, shared by one big civic family that also shares living quarters, spouses, children, and lovers. Every man in the community is allowed to sleep with every woman, but he must first sleep with an ugly woman before he can have a beautiful one.  Ironically, efforts by the new government to enforce perfect equality end up creating a totalitarian society.

Though the play dates from about 392 BCE, its themes of gender conflict, political confusion, a community struggling to recover from a military defeat, and resentments about income and social disparities seem timely in today’s world, particularly when fragmented societies seem all too willing to submit their freedoms to a strong leader who is willing and ready to take control. (continued)

“I interpret the play and am attempting to direct the play in a comical way that suggests the futility of utopia and the attempt to avoid the real grittiness of the workings of democracy, regardless of who is in power,” said Professor Rader.

“There is, however, also an attempt to suggest that women are truly equal in talent and ability (and stupidity) with men, showing the true strength of Praxagora and the women who follow her, while suggesting that women can use power as stupidly as men do by implementing  rules and laws that just don’t work,” added Rader.

PCCC offers an associate’s degree in theater with numerous performing opportunities throughout the year as well as experience working with noted playwrights and directors. For information, call Professor R.G. Rader at 973-684-6413 or e-mail rrader@pccc.edu