October 11, 2011

Aristotle Meets Gertrude Stein in a Special Solo Performance by David Greenspan at the Getty Villa

Poetics and Plays, Conceived and Performed by David Greenspan

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa

Friday, November 11, 2011, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 12, 2011, 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 13, 2011, 3:00 p.m.

David Greenspan (Photo: Aaron 

LOS ANGELES—At the Getty Villa in November, award-winning playwright and actor David Greenspan unites two of the most influential and antithetical treatises ever composed on the nature of theater—Aristotle’s Poetics and Gertrude Stein’s lecture Plays—in an unexpectedly enthralling evening of solo performance. Previously performed separately, Greenspan will for the first time perform these two pieces together at the Getty Villa.

A well-known, OBIE Award-winning, director, writer and performer, David Greenspan has been hailed by The New York Times as "the Downtown art world’s greatest secret weapon" in the battle against theatrical mediocrity. A lover of challenges and a taker of risks, Greenspan has long enjoyed presenting audiences with simultaneous and opposing truths, an enterprise epitomized by his fascinating combination of the ancient and the modern in Poetics and Plays.

This special presentation complements the upcoming exhibition Modern Antiquity: Picasso, de Chirico, Léger, and Picabia in the Presence of the Antique, on view at the Getty Villa from November 2, 2011 to January 16, 2012. The exhibition juxtaposes ancient art with modern painting by exploring how four eminent artists reinvented and transformed antiquity between 1906 and 1936.

Performances for Poetics and Plays will take place in the Getty Villa’s Auditorium. Tickets are $15 (students and seniors are $12) and can be reserved by calling (310) 440-7300 or at

Reviews of David Greenspan’s Recent Performances

"In Mr. Greenspan’s lilting delivery, this dense display of Stein’s curious mixture of the obvious and the abstruse makes for delicious hearing. Adding just a touch of humor by sardonic emphasis on a word here and there, he turns this long, logorrheic meditation on the differences among life, literature and the stage into an endearing bedtime story."

— Charles Isherwood, New York Times

"No one is like Greenspan. His captivating, surgically precise ’narratage’ makes passages of daunting opacity shine and dense concepts open like bumblebee-ready flowers. Anybody can build a stage picture, but few can so bedazzle the mind’s eye."

— David Cote, Time Out New York

"Near the end of the text, Stein explains, in a moment of rare clarity, that the purpose of art ‘is to live in the actual present . . . and to completely express that complete actual present.’ You don’t need to tell Greenspan that. No matter how outré his character or undramatic his materials, he’s always shockingly, divinely present... Even when rendering Stein’s dozy phrases, Greenspan is dangerously stirring."

— Alexis Soloski, Village Voice
# # #

Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. 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.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and photographs gathered internationally. The Museum’s mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.

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 or at (310) 440-7300. Parking is $15 per car, but $10 after 5 p.m. for evening events. Reservations are required for groups of 15 or more. For more information, call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish). The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Villa is at located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California.

Additional information is available at
Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit for a complete calendar of public programs.

You must be logged in to view this item.

This area is reserved for members of the news media. If you qualify, please update your user profile and check the box marked "Check here to register as an accredited member of the news media". Please include any notes in the "Supporting information for media credentials" box. We will notify you of your status via e-mail in one business day.