Joye Cook-Levy is a force to be reckoned with: she a gifted educator, actress, and director, and she has that rare ability to bring humor to even the most serious among us. Who better to direct Aristophanes' raucous, bawdy Lysistrata? We recently sat down to chat with Joye about her new job, her decades of directing experience, and her insights on the play's sexuality in today's world.
There's a reason Lysistrata remains so popular after more than two millennia. Trust us: you don't want to miss it! Get your tickets here before they're gone.
Joye: Sioux City, Iowa. My grandparents were pig farmers and bar owners. But there was a community theatre that became my whole world.
TW: Home now?
Joye: The west side, with lots of other living things.
TW: What’s on your playlist these days?
Joye: Crooners. Dean Martin and Amy Winehouse.
TW: Who are your theatre idols?
Joye: When I first saw Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, I went back 3 times. And for a bit of time, I resigned myself to the possibility that maybe everything I had ever aspired to create had already been done. I also drool over Sarah Ruhl, Bertolt Brecht, and Thornton Wilder. Let's make theatre out of a ladder and a lamp post.
TW: You recently started a new job. What are you doing now and what is the funniest thing that's happened to you there?
Joye: I'm the ARTs14 Director for the Manitou Springs School District. I curate seasons of after-school programming, master classes, residencies, arts integrated professional development, and Greenbox children's programming. And, on occasion... I drive the short bus!
TW: How long have you been directing?
Joye: I've been directing professionally for about 15 years. Another 10 years before that, I was making delicious drama worlds with children.
TW: Why is Lysistrata so sexual?
Joye: This question is entertaining. Aristophanes made a fantasy/comedy where he gave women their own sexual license—which, sadly, was so outlandish it was absurd and made the Greeks laugh. Today, we're still pretty uptight about sexuality publicly—at home, with our mature-themed Netflix, is another story! But in public, I think we all could build up our shameless muscles a little more and have some naughty giggles as a community of adults. Sometimes being naughty is good for the soul.
TW: What do you hope audiences get out of seeing Lysistrata?
Joye: Stronger shameless muscles.
TW: How do you eat an Oreo?
Joye: I don't. They're like the only cookies I can keep in the pantry for the kids, 'cause I. wont. touch. them.
Be sure to check out our Q&A with Betty Hart, who will play Lysistrata in this special staged reading.