Press Room Search

Current Press Releases
Archived Press Releases




News Home Current Press Releases

VILLA THEATER SERIES OFFER CLASSIC WORKS THROUGH A MODERN LENS

The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa Launches 2010 Villa Theater Lab Series and New Villa Playreading Series, both featuring works in progress

February 15, 2010

Los Angeles—The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa announces its annual Villa Theater Lab Series, beginning February 19, featuring works-in-progress versions of new translations of Greek and Roman plays as well as contemporary works inspired by ancient theater.  This year, the Museum is also presenting a new Villa Playreading Series, offering an opportunity to watch “script-in-hand” readings by professional theater artists of lesser-known Greek and Roman plays in translation.

The Villa Theater Lab features outstanding artists or ensembles presenting “in process” public presentations of new work rooted in classic literature or culture.  Each team of artists-in-residence is provided with time, space, and production support by the Museum – both during and in advance of the period of residency – allowing for far broader and deeper experimentation than would a traditional play-reading format.

This year’s Villa Theater Lab season begins with Big Dance Theater’s presentation of Euripides' Alkestis, Friday–Sunday, February 19–21.  Two acclaimed creative forces—renowned translator Anne Carson and the daring, experimental Big Dance Theater, based in New York City—meet in the creation of a new movement-theater version of Alkestis.  Euripides’ genre-defying play, in which Herakles wrestles Death for the soul of an ideal woman, is one of  the playwright’s strangest and most beautiful works, having fascinated both scholars and theater artists for centuries.

In May, the season continues with Proyecto Azteca, Friday–Sunday, May 14–16, featuring artists from California Institute of the Arts' Center for New Performance presenting a multimedia tapestry of texts in Spanish, English, and Nahuatl, recalling and reflecting upon the moment of encounter between Aztec culture and European invaders and drawing upon Octavio Paz’s groundbreaking poem The Sun Stone (Piedra del Sol).  This performance complements the exhibition The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire, on view March 24–July 5, 2010, at the Getty Villa, which coincides with Los Angeles celebrations of the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence and the centennial of the Mexican revolution.  Public programming for this exhibition is supported by Chase.

The new Villa Playreading Series presents two script-in-hand offerings in March.  The first is Euripides’ rarely performed comic play Helen, based on the dazzling conceit that Helen has passed the entire Trojan War living chastely in Egypt, oblivious to the Trojan War, her infamy, and the fate of her husband Menelaus. Helen is directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, and presented by Playwrights’ Arena on March 5 and 6.

Later in the month, the Villa Playreading Series presents Aristophanes’ The Frogs, directed by Matt Walker and presented by the Troubador Theater Company on March 19 and 20. In this typically irreverent satire, Dionysus, the antic God of Theater, depressed by the state of the Athenian stage, resolves to restore literary excellence to the seasonal dramatic festivals, an effort that somehow involves a large chorus of singing frogs, among other devices.

The Villa’s theater programs are part of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s broad spectrum of public programming and events. Live performances of classical and classically based drama offer insight into the social, cultural, and political realities of life in ancient Greece and Rome, while the Museum’s permanent collection of ancient art and changing exhibitions deepen the connection between modern audiences and the tragedies and comedies onstage.

“These Villa theater presentations demonstrate to audiences the important position theater held in antiquity, and how works from over two thousand years ago continue to inspire modern drama today,” said Karol Wight, senior curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Tickets are only $7 for the Villa Theater Lab, and are free for the Villa Playreading Series. Reservations are required for all performances and parking is free for those after 5:00 p.m.   All performances take place in the Auditorium at the Getty Villa.  For tickets and reservations, call (310) 440-7300 or visit www.getty.edu.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Because these performances are works in progress, they are not open for reviews.

Villa Theater Lab Series Schedule
February – May 2010 at the Getty Villa

A ticket is required for each event, and must be obtained in advance.  Tickets are available online at www.getty.edu or by phone at (310) 440-7300. All Villa Theater Lab presentations are in the Villa’s indoor Auditorium.

February 2010
Big Dance Theater
Euripides’ Alkestis

Dates: Friday, February 19, 2010, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 20, 2010, 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 21, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
A discussion with the artists will follow the Saturday 3:00 p.m. performance.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium
Admission: Tickets $7.
Call (310) 440-7300 or visit www.getty.edu.

Two acclaimed creative forces—renowned translator Anne Carson and the daring, experimental Big Dance Theater—meet in the creation of a new movement-theater version of Alkestis. Euripides' genre-defying play, in which Herakles wrestles Death for the soul of an ideal woman, is one of the playwright's strangest and most beautiful works.

May  2010
California Institute of the Arts' Center for New Performance
Proyecto Azteca

Dates: Friday, May 14, 2010, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 15, 2010, 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 16, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
A discussion with the artists will follow the Saturday 3:00 p.m. performance.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium
Admission: Tickets $7
Tickets available beginning Thursday, April 22, 2010, at (310) 440-7300 or www.getty.edu.

Theater artists from California Institute of the Arts' Center for New Performance weave a multimedia tapestry of texts in Spanish, English, and Nahuatl, recalling and reflecting upon the moment of encounter between Aztec culture and European invaders.  Directed by Mexican artist Maria Morrett, the performance draws upon Octavio Paz’s  groundbreaking poem The Sun Stone (Piedra del Sol). 

THE VILLA PLAYREADING SERIES SCHEDULE
March 2010 at the Getty Villa

Euripides’ HELEN
Directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, presented by Playwrights’ Arena
March 5 & 6, 2010
Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 3pm and 8pm
Admission free; reservation required. 

Euripides's rarely performed comic play is based on a dazzling and outrageous conceit: that Spartan Helen has passed the entire Trojan War living chastely in Egypt, hidden and protected by the gods, and that only a counterfeit phantom of herself was abducted to Troy, thus provoking ten years of calamity for both sides.   Seven years after the war's end, Helen remains stranded in Egypt, the most hated women in the world, but oblivious to her infamy and ignorant of the war’s outcome and the fate of her husband Menelaus.  The action of the play unfolds on the day that word reaches Helen of what has transpired in Troy, and that the ship-wrecked Menelaus is washed up in rags on the Egyptian shore.

Aristophanes’ THE FROGS
Directed by Matt Walker, presented by Troubadour Theater Company
March 19 & 20, 2010
Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 3pm and 8pm
Admission free; reservation required. 

The playwright Aristophanes lived to see Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides – his three older contemporaries – dead and buried.  In this typically irreverent satire, Dionysus, the antic God of Theater, depressed by the state of the Athenian stage, resolves to restore literary excellence to the seasonal dramatic festivals. Descending to Hades with his slave Xanthius, Dionysus vows to return to Earth with the greatest dead playwright of them all.  But who is the greatest playwright?  And how will the young God of Wine convince the powerful Lord of the Underworld to release the famous, deceased author?  Let’s just say that a large chorus of singing frogs becomes involved...

And, COMING IN SEPTEMBER
to the Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Outdoor Classical Theater at The Getty Villa

Sophocles’ Elektra Directed by Carey Perloff
In a newly commissioned translation by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Performances from September 2 through October 2, 2010
Tickets on sale from July 1. 

This production of Elektra complements The Art of Ancient Greek Theater, an exhibition spotlighting theater in the ancient world, on view August 25, 2010, to January 3, 2011.

# # #

MEDIA CONTACT:   

Julie Jaskol    
Getty Communications
310-440-7607
jjaskol@getty.edu

About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Sign up for e-Getty at www.getty.edu/subscribe/ to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.

Visiting the Getty Villa: The Getty Villa is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Villa is always free. A ticket is required for admission. Tickets can be ordered in advance, or on the day of your visit, at www.getty.edu/visit or at 310-440-7300. Parking is $15 per car, but free after 5pm for evening events. Groups of 15 or more must make reservations by phone. For more information, call 310-440-7300 (English or Spanish); 310-440-7305 (TTY line for the deaf or hearing impaired). The Getty Villa is at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California.

Public Programs at the Getty Villa: The Getty Villa offers a variety of public programs including theater, musical performances, film screenings, Family Festivals, lectures, and seminars. These events complement the J. Paul Getty Museum's permanent antiquities collection and changing exhibitions, as well as reflect the scholarly activities of the Getty Trust's four programs.

The predominant focus of the Villa's public programming is on theater, rooted in Greek and Roman plays of antiquity. A major production is presented each fall in the outdoor Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater. The Villa Theater Lab, a series that acts as an incubator for the development of new works in the classical canon, is featured each winter and spring in the Auditorium.