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March 06, 2015

Ancient Rome Meets The Rumberas Films of Mexican Cinema at the Getty Villa Theater Lab

La Olla—Plautus's Pot of Gold

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, March 27-29, 2015


Emma Jacobson-Sive
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6941

Director, José Luis Valenzuela. Photo: Albert Villalta
LOS ANGELES – With its inventive imagery, music and dance, the award-winning Latino Theater Company (LTC) re-imagines the ancient Roman playwright Plautus's comedy Pot of Gold, inspired by the Rumberas films of the golden age of Mexican Cinema. La Olla—Plautus's Pot of Gold, directed by the company’s artistic director José Luis Valenzuela, takes a sharp comedic look at the perils of show business, and how ambition and greed can often line the road to stardom.

“What inspired us to adapt Pot of Gold was its theme of the power of greed, and how it is capable of developing control over most individuals,” says Valenzuela. “The Rumberas film noir genre of Mexican cinema also focused largely on these same themes of greed versus morality.” The Rumberas flourished in the 1940s and 50s and were an amalgam of various influences and genres including film noir, the colorful Busby Berkeley Hollywood musicals, B films, as well as the Mexican urban melodramatic films of the 1930s. The films give insight into the moral values of a specific time in Mexico City, often focusing on an underdog character trying to realize his or her dreams.

“The LTC’s process of creation always begins with the question ‘What are we going to say about the human existence?’” explains Valenzuela. “When adapting a classic, we then ask how we can bring life to the characters of the story by making them relatable to a contemporary audience.” The company then continues to develop the play through a process of improvisation, research and discussion to discover the theme of the work before beginning to write. This process of experimentation continues as other elements, including music, movement and design, get incorporated.

This work in progress follows Leo, a bit player who performs between the main acts of Megadorus's shady 1950's Los Angeles nightclub, "La Olla," where he also sweeps and mops the floors at the end of the night. When Leo stumbles upon a large sum of money, the ambitious performer is overtaken by greed, ambition and mistrust and fixates on how he will use the money to become a “star.” While he is focused on keeping his treasure hidden, music plays, dancers dance, and Leo falls into a frenzied state of confusion where motives are misinterpreted with hilarious results.

Playwright, Evelina Fernandez. Photo : Charles Rodriguez

The cast includes: Olivia Delgado, Evelina Fernandez, Sam Golzari, Fidel Gomez, Castulo Guerra, Sal Lopez, Hugo Medina and Geoffrey Rivas

La Olla—Plautus's Pot of Gold is scheduled:
Friday, March 27, 2015, at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 28, 2015, at 3:00 & 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 29, 2015, at 3:00 p.m.
Tickets are $7 and are available by calling 310-440-7300 or visiting:

About The Latino Theater Company (LTC)
LTC celebrates over 29 years of commitment to the creation of exciting, thought-provoking theater in Los Angeles. Artistic Director José Luis Valenzuela co-founded the company in 1985, and both individually and as an ensemble the company has made significant contributions to the advancement of Latino Theater in the U.S. with an impressive history of award-winning plays. The company also produces a pageant play, La Virgen de Guadalupe, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels as a free gift to the city of Los Angeles each holiday season.

The Getty Villa Theater Lab
The Villa Theater Lab series fosters the work of artists using creative, often experimental approaches to the performance of ancient stories. The range of technologies available in the Villa Auditorium has enabled both emerging and long-established artists—directors, designers, musicians, playwrights, and actors—to discover and then incorporate innovative stage, sound, and visual elements into works in progress while in residence at the Villa.
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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 most major holidays, but will be open Tuesday December 30. 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.
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