The Wasps is the fourth of Aristophanes' 11 surviving plays and was first produced in 422 BC. The drama begins with an unusual scene: A son has covered his father's house in giant nets and has barricaded the door. He insists his father, Philocleon, has a rare disease, an addiction to the courts of law. A romp ensues as Philocleon tries to escape through the chimney, on the belly of a donkey, and by gnawing through the net with his teeth.
A swarm of wasp-like old men shows up on the scene, fellow jurors out to save their comrade. The son, Bdelycleon, and his guards are able to ward off the men and restore order. Bdelycleon, then, further attempts to wean his father from judicial business by establishing a law-court at home in which the perpetrator is the house dog and the witnesses are the bowl and cheese grater.
The play reaches its climax when Bdelycleon convinces his father to attend a social gathering where Philocleon has too much to drink and acquires a gathering of aggrieved citizens demanding compensation and threatening legal action. Ironically, for a man who so loves the courts, Philocleon tries to talk his way out of his troubles until his son drags him out of harm's way back indoors.
A pre and post wine reception and a shopping open house will accompany the reading, starting at 6:30 p.m.