Exploring the Acropolis at the Library

Today’s reflection was written and shared with us by library outreach student assistant Vero Urubio.

The pandemic presented several challenges to both faculty and students alike. For LMU’s Department of Theatre Arts, a COVID-safe spin on the play “Lysistrata” offered a truly eye-catching alternative plan in fall 2020. The play was adapted in the form of stop-motion animation over Zoom, with cast and crew taking on long-distance challenges that resulted in one of the most intriguing renditions of Aristophanes’s play, one that included a mini-Acropolis.

More than seven hundred mini clay figures stand, sit, and appear frozen in time on this small ½” scale, near replica of a 411 BCE Acropolis. If you find yourself starring at the Pantheon, you can find a clay figure in purple dangling off of the roof from a rope or the clay figure in apparel distinctly more orange and clean-cut robes facing outwards. Coming from the Information Desk and walking towards where the statue of Athena faces, you can find an assortment of clay figures in various poses: walking up the staircase, banging their heads against the columns, waving, holding “conversations” with fellow figures, pointing, sitting, and more. If you look long enough, you may even find the two clay dogs next to their clay owners.

During Orientation Week, library staff integrated the model of Acropolis into the standard library tour, which had been my first introduction to this latest addition to the first floor. Along with a group of sophomore students, I was given time to walk around and see what details I could find as our tour guide summarized how this project was created, including how it came to find a temporary home within the library. To provide context, the exhibit includes informational placards titled with subjects like “Lysistrata,” detailing information on the playwright, the play’s history, and LMU’s own performance of the play. Some placards tackle individual terms with corresponding images—such as The Propylaea and Acropolis—while others explain “What’s with the mirror balls?” or credit “Which LMU students were involved?”

It’s a fascinating model, and you can’t help but drink in every clay figure, building, and statue. I know I sure couldn’t, having spent ten minutes reading each placard and squinting at every crook and cranny of this feat of ingenuity! What makes this exhibit so distinct from others the library has displayed—other than its novel placement on the first floor—is its light fixtures that transform a renowned historical space into a miniature rave! This is shown on the video screen to the left of the exhibit, where multi-colored strobe lights unleash a funky effect on Acropolis. If it’s been a year since you’ve last stepped up to the Information Desk—or within the library itself—this is one exhibit you won’t want to miss. We invite you to come on by to see it for yourself!

For more information on the theatre department’s “Lysistrata” showing, the LA Loyolan featured two articles: one on challenging theatre norms in an interview with Jason Sheppard, and the other interviewing students and staff who were part of the production.