Matthew Lickona 4 p.m., May 26
Since Greek comedy was based on satire and politics, where did the Greeks go to laugh?
These plays were the original vaudeville/slapstick/burlesque. Satyr plays were more blatant than any of those tame theatrical forms.
Satyr plays featured a chorus of satyr, mythical creatures who were the male companions of Dionysius and Pan. Their torso was that of a man while their legs were like a goat.
In the satyr play, there was all manner of phallic humor and what we might call bathroom humor. Jokes often included flatulence and flowers inserted between the buttocks. I might add that there is still an audience for this kind of humor. Is it a coincidence that college fraternities identify themselves with Greek letters?
This type of humor continued to be popular for centuries. It was prominent in the Roman Empire as well as in the middle ages and phallic humor is prevalent in Shakespeare.
In the 1990’s there was an off Broadway show called “The Puppetry of the Penis”. In this show, two Australian men transformed their members into a series of characters and objects.
I like the earthy honesty of this type of humor. Truth be told, the male appendage is kind of funny looking.
Some may think it should be a matter of private entertainment and they might be right in that regard.