Sappho in Love
The Lambda Players’ production of Sappho in Love disproves the old canard about lesbians lacking a sense of humor.
Set in the time of the great lyric poet Sappho (Kira Volar), Carolyn Gage’s comedy takes the sort of liberties with history familiar to any fan of Xena: Warrior Princess. The poet is a playa, and her school is her playground. But she’s about to lose the great love of her life if she doesn’t settle down and get married.
Enter the goddesses: Aphrodite (Susan Soesbe), ruler of love; Hera (Sandy Richard), goddess of marriage; and Artemis (Kristara Ciccone), celibate goddess of integrity. And it’s impossible to forget Persuasion (the irrepressible and hilarious Bethany Hidden), Aphrodite’s slave. Since whoever controls the poet forges the world’s culture, they decide to vie for Sappho’s future. High jinks ensue, as deception, mistaken identity, broken promises and unexpected love offer these women more excitement than a day on the softball field. A few updated jokes—plus some outrageous mugging and physical comedy from Soesbe, Richard and Hidden—guarantee a good time. Sprinkled throughout are fragments of the great lyrics of Sappho (fragments are all we’ve got these days; the first lesbian survives mostly in reputation).
And while Volar’s Sappho has the soulfulness one expects from a poet (and she manages that aspect of the role fully), she exhibits nary a raised eyebrow nor a seductive smile. She’s just too sincere, in an Indigo Girls kind of way, to be quite believable as lady killer, but her jealous turn in one scene is a snapping-good laugh.
In supporting roles, Sandra Whitney (Atthis) and Rosita Buada (Timas) stand out, with high energy and great timing. Prepare to laugh. These are some funny, funny lesbians.