December 12, 2014

The Getty Villa’s Successful Theater Lab Returns for Its Tenth Season with Tungsten (Artery), A Modern Response to the Greek Myth of Persephone

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, February 20-22, 2015
At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa 

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


Cora on train. Photo: Janie Geiser  

LOS ANGELES – A multidisciplinary play, Tungsten (artery) integrates shadows, Japanese Bunraku-inspired puppetry, sound, text and projected video in an imaginative response to the myth of Persephone, the Greek goddess of spring and awakening. Written by Erik Ehn and directed and designed by Janie Geiser, in collaboration with scenic designer Shannon Scrofano, Tungsten (artery) is born out of a partnership between the groundbreaking organizations Automata and Los Angeles Performance Practice.

The play follows Cora, a contemporary Persephone with an existential dilemma. Commuting by train to a modern-day New York City, Cora’s annual return to the city has always been the catalyst for spring, but her role, and the cycle of the seasons, are now in question, as the choices of mortals have changed everything. There is a new sense of anticipation and disruption in earth’s natural cycles; massive meteorological time has contracted and a startling wildness is now familiar. As she sleeps on the train, Cora can’t remember where she is coming from, and isn’t sure where she is going. The feeling of the journey is the one thing that Cora does remember— it’s ancient, familiar, but a sense of home, of belonging and purpose, is elusive. Tungsten (artery) imagines Cora’s search for meaning as she grapples with who she is: her existential exhaustion, the endless nature of her responsibilities, her power, and her sense of relentless loss. As she finds her way to her apartment, her life—lived between worlds, much like Persephone moved between the underworld and earth—begins to come into focus, as it also begins to unravel.

The puppets in the play underscore and parallel Cora’s journey, as they too, straddle two worlds; although they are tangible (made of wood and paint), their breath and movement comes from the three visible puppeteers who operate them. A meditation on dramatic climate change as well as an elliptical rumination on our mortality, Tungsten (artery) is an expression of the complexity of being human. This production is a work in progress, produced by Automata in collaboration with Los Angeles Performance Practice.

Tungsten (artery) is scheduled Friday, February 20, 2015, at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, February 21, 2015, at 3:00 & 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, February 21, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $7 and are available by calling 310-440-7300 or visiting:

About Automata
Automata, located in Los Angeles, California, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation, incubation, and presentation of experimental puppet theater, experimental film, and other contemporary art practices centered on ideas of artifice and performing objects. Founded in 2004 by artists Susan Simpson and Janie Geiser, Automata has been creating and presenting intimate performances of original work, film screenings of contemporary and historical avant-garde film, lectures, workshops, and exhibitions in a variety of spaces in the Los Angeles. Automata seeks to radically redefine and re-contextualize the notion of object performance by taking an art form that is frequently marginalized and locating it at the intersection of contemporary performance, media, visual art, music, sound art and experimental writing.

About Los Angeles Performance Practice (LAPP)
Los Angeles Performance Practice is a producing organization and artists’ network dedicated to supporting Los Angeles’ unique contemporary performance community. Founded by Miranda Wright in 2010, it is composed of independent artists who create groundbreaking theatrical experiences through innovative approaches to collaboration, technology, and social engagement. By contributing to a shared knowledge, resources, and conversational critique; artists within this network will transform the cultural landscape of Los Angeles and beyond.

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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