Simone Zvi as Harvest and Brian Crane as War in Washington Shakespeare Company's production of the play in 2008. (Photo by Ray Gniewek.)

Simone Zvi as Harvest and Brian Crane as War in Washington Shakespeare Company's production of the play in 2008. (Photo by Ray Gniewek.)

2 hours with intermission.

COWS OF WAR

Adapted From Aristophanes' play PEACE.

A Tennessee farmer rides a hot-air balloon to Mount Olympus to persuade the goddess Peace to return to earth. She will, but at a price. Meanwhile, the god War can't understand why he's not more liked, an overjobbed Hermes has to perform five weddings, and a militant vegan veterinary student leads a Chorus of cows into protesting their working conditions on the farm.

A wickedly subversive and scatalogical play based on Aristophanes' play PEACE. Originally commissioned by Washington Shakespeare Company for the 2008 Presidential election, and subsequently updated for Hunter College for the 2016 election.

War, racism, abuse: “Peace” says things that nice plays don’t say, and gets away with it because — well, because it’s in the service of a higher good, of course.
— Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post
A complex meditation on peace and its consequences which manages to avoid pomposity and self-importance. Indeed, it is extraordinarily bold in its self-deflating way, punctuating shibboleths and stepping contemptuously on political correctness. It is witty, affecting, absorbing and, to boot, most excellently performed.
— Tim Treanor, DC Theatre Scene

Setting
Present day. Carthage, Tennessee, and Mount Olympus.

Characters

DARBY. Male. Resident philosopher-farmhand on a dairy farm.
TOONSIE. Same. Acts older and smarter but really isn’t.
GRALEO. Male. Gentleman farmer, inventor, politician. Doesn't actually farm himself.
GRALEA. GRALEO’s wife. Reads People magazine.
EIRENE. GRALEA’s neighbor. Militant vegan.
HERMES. Female. Underjobbed and overworked. Has boundary issues.
WAR. Preferably older male. Think Dick Cheney.
HAVOC. College boy. Think G.W. Bush.
PROFITEERs 1 and 2. A few years out of college. Sociopaths. Think the Winklevoss twins.
PEACE. Any age. Beautiful.
HARVEST and FESTIVAL. 15. Fraternal twin daughters of PEACE and HAVOC.
NEWSCASTER. Think Brian Williams or Diane Sawyer.
CHORUS. Cows and refugees. They are designated by ID numbers that correspond to years of significant wars. Feel free to rearrange/reassign some of the cow lines depending on your production needs. Ideally, each cow is distinct in voice, personality, and physicality, though they are dressed identically.

Production & Development History

  • Production, Hunter College, 2016
  • Workshop, Theater at Monmouth, 2016
  • Production, Washington Shakespeare Company, 2008 (titled PEACE)