January 06, 2011

Villa Theater Series Kicks Off Season with New Satyr Play Based On Ancient Themes

Villa Theater Lab Series 2011 begins with a weekend of work-in-progress performances of the latest production by Los Angeles innovative Poor Dog Group

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa

Poor Dog Group

LOS ANGELES—The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa announces its annual Villa Theater Lab Series, beginning February 4, featuring works-in-progress versions of new translations of Greek and Roman plays as well as contemporary works inspired by ancient theater.

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 a weekend of work-in-progress performances of the latest production by Los Angeles’ innovative Poor Dog Group. Following a two-week artists’ residency at the museum, the Poor Dog Group ensemble will preview excerpts from Satyr Atlas—a new satyr play on ancient themes written and directed by Poor Dog Group’s Artistic Director Jesse Bonnell, based on texts by Euripides.

"Much of our contemporary culture is directly rooted in the events and myths passed down to us through ancient drama," says Bonnell. "Satyr Atlas attempts to channel the biological power of our past—embracing both the barbaric and the beautiful, the visible and the invisible—to create an incantation of the world that exists before death, a vortex into a time where human law and natural order can reverse: the eternal world of Dionysos."

The cast of Satyr Atlas includes:

Cat Ventura [Pelopia], Jonathon Ahmanson [Silenus], John Kern [Thyestes], Jesse Saler [Atreus], Condola Rashad [Aerope], Andrew Gilbert [Aegisthos], Jessica Emmanuel [Oracle/Echo], Itamar Stern [The First Actor], and Brad Culver [Dionysos]

Members of the creative team are:

Jesse Bonnell [Director], Stacy Dawson Stearns [Movement], Peter Mayer [Composer], Andrew Gilbert [Music Direction], Adam Hunter [Lighting Design & Production Manager], Efren Delgadillo, Jr. [Set Design], Leah Piehl [Costume Design], E. M. Gimenez [Sound Design], Matthew Mellinger [Video Design], Itamar Stern [Producer], and Marisa Blankier [Stage Management]

This project of Poor Dog Group is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and The UCLA Department of World Arts and Culture.

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

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

About Poor Dog Group:

Poor Dog Group is a Los Angeles based collective of like-minded performance and media artists committed to nurturing a distinctive aesthetic through adventurous collaboration. Our mission is to develop original theatrical expression through the creation of new work and radical reexaminations of existing texts; to redefine, educate and expand our own perceptions of performance and theatrical form; to have an accessibility for a new audience; to use experimental methods of the body, text and technology; to craft new American theater; and to develop the cultivation of a limitless and periodic space.

Poor Dog Group [PDG] was founded in late fall of 2007 by recent graduates of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). We celebrated the opening of our 6,100 sq.ft. performance warehouse in downtown Los Angeles in January 2009. During our yearlong occupancy, PDG Performance Warehouse was witness to ambitious programming initiatives including visual arts exhibitions, dance shows, music concerts, and original PDG performances. In 2009, we toured throughout Eastern Europe performing in over a dozen cities in Croatia, Poland, and Serbia. Funding for this tour was provided by Theater Communications Group, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Grotowski Institute, The United States Embassy, and private donors. Last summer we co-presented the world premiere adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s Brewsie & Willie with CalArts’ Center for New Performance. This project received significant support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Brewsie & Willie will be re-mounted in June 2011 in Los Angeles as part of the inaugural International theater festival RadarLA. In November, we participated in a REDCAT residency with esteemed Polish director Grzegorz Jarzyna.

Additional information on Poor Dog Group is available at

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Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304

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 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 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.

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.

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