February 02, 2012

Getty Villa Theater Lab Series Returns with New Work-In-Progress Performances Inspired by Antiquity

2012 series includes Los Angeles-based artists Critical Mass Performance Group and Rogue Artists Ensemble

Villa Theater Lab

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa

Friday–Sunday, February 17–19

Friday–Sunday, March 23–25


MEDIA CONTACT:                 
Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304 

LOS ANGELES—The Getty Villa announces its annual Villa Theater Lab Series, beginning on February 17, featuring work-in-progress versions of new translations of Greek and Roman plays as well as contemporary works inspired by ancient literature. This year’s series includes Los Angeles-based artists Critical Mass Performance Group and Rogue Artists Ensemble.

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 far broader and deeper experimentation than would a traditional play-reading format.

This year’s series kicks off with Critical Mass Performance Group, Friday–Sunday,
February 17–19. Their latest work-in-progress, An Alcestis Project, explores ancient myths of the faithful wife who descends to the realm of the dead. Under the direction of Nancy Keystone, the project takes its name from the Greek heroine Alcestis, a queen and mother who volunteers to die in place of her husband. Drawing on a long history of interpretation by dramatists, poets, and composers of opera, Keystone and Critical Mass Performance Group present the first draft of their mythic research.

In March, the season continues with Rogue Artists Ensemble and their presentation of
Songs of Bilitis, Friday–Sunday, March 23–25. In 1894, the alleged discovery of a large cache of exquisite erotic poetry by an ancient Greek courtesan named Bilitis electrified the world of classical studies. One of the great literary hoaxes of history, “Bilitis” was the creation of a desperate and obscure French novelist—yet “her” passionate poetry remains in print today, inspiring this new work by the acclaimed Los Angeles mask and puppet troupe Rogue Artists Ensemble.  These March work-in-progress performances feature erotic imagery and explicit nudity and are therefore recommended for adult audiences only.

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.

All performances take place in the Auditorium at the Getty Villa. Tickets are $7 and available by calling (310) 440-7300 or visiting the
Villa Theater Lab page.  Reservations are required for all performances.

Note to editors: Because these performances are works in progress, they are not open for reviews.

# # #

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. 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.

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.