The Satyr Play
After hours of tense drama, Athenian theatre-goers were treated to an emotional reprieve by a chorus of merry creatures, whose drinking, cavorting and usage of large phallic props generally eased the tension of the event. Inserted usually between the second and third tragedy in a trilogy or marking the celebration at the end of the festival, Satyr plays also served as the link between drama and the divinity who delivered it to mankind, Dionysis. Satyrs (depicted in early greek art as horse-tailed men with perpetual erections) were the companions of Dionysis, the god of theatre, fertility and wine. Serving a similar purpose as the plays, Dionysis was at times referred to as the liberator, for it was through the madness of wine that one could be freed from oneself. As symbolic characters, Satyrs embodied male frustrations; however, they never acted fully upon their lust, rather satisfying themselves in the thrill of the chase, not the consummation of the desire.
This piece serves a parallel purpose as the plays themselves, allowing for a conceptual break from political cynicism in favor of a little visual fun. Also, as the technical tedium of decorative painting took its toll, I too was saved by the pleasure of realizing this piece.