Aristophanes (done later on,
by someone who had never seen him)
Aristophanes (arr-iss-TA-fa-knees) lived in Athens at about the same time as Euripides, about 450-388 BC, but Aristophanes wrote comedies instead of tragedies. Most of Aristophanes' plays are political satire. They make fun of the politicians of Athens, sometimes in general, and sometimes mocking one specific politician. One of his plays, Lysistrata, poked fun at the generals who would not end the Peloponnesian War, and said that women could do a better job of making peace. Another play, the Frogs, was a sad commentary on the deaths of Sophocles and Euripides, and on the difficulty of using art to make peace. The Wasps makes fun of the Athenian jury system.
To find out more about Aristophanes and Greek theater, check out some of these books from Amazon.com or from your library:
Greek Theatre, by Stewart Ross (1999). For kids.
Greek and Roman Theater, by Don Nardo. For teenagers.
Aristophanes I: Clouds, Wasps, Birds, translated by Peter Meineck (1998). All Aristophanes plays have a lot of dirty jokes in them, and these are no exception. So kids might not want to read them. Lively, and suitable for play production.
and Athens: An Introduction to the Plays, by Douglas M. MacDowell
(1995). Explains the meaning of the jokes and political commentary
in the plays. For adults.