The Getty Villa

An exciting forum for the reinterpretation of classical theater, the Villa Theater Lab series features new translations of Greek and Roman plays as well as contemporary works inspired by ancient literature.

All performances take place in the Auditorium at the Getty Villa. Parking is $10 after 4:00 p.m.

Next in the series


The Antigone Project

Date: Friday, February 19, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 20, 2016 at 3:00 & 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
Location: Auditorium
Admission: $7; advance ticket required.

The Antigone Project imagines unspoken parts of the iconic Antigone story and examines the unique qualities of the sibling bond. Antigone is the daughter/sister of Oedipus and his mother, Jocasta. After her father Oedipus is exiled from the kingdom of Thebes, her brothers Eteocles and Polynices agree to share the kingdom jointly by alternating rule each year. However, Eteocles decides not to give up his power when his tenure expires, forcing Polynices to gather an army and attack the city of Thebes in a battle that kills both brothers. King Creon (Jocasta's brother), who ascends to the throne of Thebes after the death of the brothers, decrees that Polynices is not to be buried or even mourned since he had attacked the city. In the story by Sophocles, Antigone defies orders given by her uncle King Creon and secures a respectable burial for her brother Polynices, but is caught. King Creon locks her away in a tomb, where she hangs herself.

The new work provides an intimate and human exploration of the heroine Antigone and the brother she buries. Inspired by current events, the Wild West, ancient Greece, and the artists' own childhood living rooms; The Antigone Project takes a fresh and personal look at the legacy of Oedipus, offering insight into how the themes in the Antigone story are alive in our culture both privately and publicly today.

Annie Saunders, Wilderness (Co-Creator, Performer) is an experimental theater-maker, performer, and founding artistic director of Wilderness, which presented its site-responsive, immersive, physical-theater performance The Day Shall Declare It in a disused warehouse in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District with Los Angeles Performance Practice and in London with Theatre Delicatessen in the former BBC Studios and the Bush Theatre. The company also presented Leaves of Grass, a work-in-progress about the look-alike phenomenon in couples, in the REDCAT Studio Series and is currently developing that project to tour. Wilderness also offers workshops and masterclasses in devising with text and movement and has recently taught these classes in Moscow, London, and Los Angeles. In addition to her work with Wilderness, Saunders is a core collaborator and performer with Lars Jan's Early Morning Opera, for which she has appeared in Holoscenes, The Institute of Memory (TIMe), and Abacus, and has devised and performed original work in the UK with Neil Bettles (Frantic Assembly, Thickskin) and Gemma Fairlie (RSC). She holds a BA and MA in literature and cultural studies from the University of London, and has trained at the Sanford Meisner Center for the Arts, the American Conservatory Theater, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Becca Wolff, Tilted Field (Co-Creator, Director) is a cross-media director committed to developing new forms and attracting new audiences to the theater. She is co-founder of Tilted Field Productions, named "Best Avant-Garde Rock Musical Theater Company" by the LA Weekly in 2013. Work with Tilted Field includes The Last Days of Mary Stuart, an electro-opera Wolff wrote with members of the band TONY and the world premiere of Alex Knox's one-man show No Static At All, which was named Best Solo Performance at the 2014 New York International and 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festivals. Other work includes the world premiere of Lauren Yee's Hookman (Z Space/Encore), nominated for Theatre Bay Area's 2015 award for Best Production of a Play. Recent premieres include Sarah Gubbins's The Kid Thing (New Conservatory Theater), Rocked by Women (Sarah Bush Dance Project) and Dan LeFranc's Sixty Miles to Silverlake (IAMA Theater Company). She has worked at The Public Theater (NYC), Trinity Repertory Theatre (RI), Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and Yale Repertory Theatre, among others. Wolff is on faculty at Berkeley City College and Pixar University. She is a graduate of The New School in New York, and holds an MFA in Directing from the Yale School of Drama.


• Becca Wolff • Co-Creator, Director
• Annie Saunders • Co-Creator, Performer
• Max Hersey • Performer
• John Zalewski • Sound Designer (Ovation Award Winner The Day Shall Declare It)
• Melissa Trn • Costume Designer (Yale)
• Chu-Hsuan Chang • Lighting Designer (CalArts, recently The Institute of Memory at REDCAT and Under the Radar at the Public Theater, New York)
• Nina Caussa • Scenic Designer (CalArts, recently The Day Shall Declare It)
• Ash Nichols • Production Manager (Cornerstone Theater Co core member, recently Hopscotch)
• Christian Cagigal • Magic/Illusion Consultant (S.F., Theatre Bay Area Award Winner)
• James Ard • Live Recording/Playback Designer (S.F.)


The Archer from Malis

Date: Friday, April 15, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 3:00 & 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 17, 2016 at
3:00 p.m.
Location: Auditorium
Admission: Tickets $7; available February 18, 2016.

In this bold reimagining of Sophocles's Philoctetes, set in a Hunger Games-inspired dystopia and employing non-traditional casting in terms of gender, ethnicity, and disability, Odysseus orders young Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, to trick Philoctetes into joining the Greeks to assure their victory of the Trojan War.

Philoctetes was entrusted with Herucles' bow upon the demi-god's death. The Greeks, who abandoned the snake-bitten Philoctetes on the island of Lemnos ten years earlier, return, now in need of him and the divine bow to win the Trojan War. The play explores questions of loss, betrayal, loyalty and whether the ends always justify the means.

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Most recently in the series

Theatre Movement Bazaar presents SUBLIMINAL
November 20–22, 2015
Theatre Movement Bazaar's new performance work—merging humor, dance, song, and video—takes place on a submarine deep in the subarctic and is inspired by the ancient legend of Cassandra, the Trojan princess who was granted the gift of prophecy and the curse of never being believed.

La Olla—Plautus's The Pot of Gold
March 27–29, 2015
The Latino Theater Company deploys its unique style of imagery, music, and movement—inspired by the noir films of the golden age of Mexican Cinema—for this adaptation of ancient Roman playwright Plautus's comedy The Pot of Gold. Crime, greed, ambition, and mistrust drive the characters into a state of confusion and misinterpreted motives, with hilarious results.

Tungsten (artery) A Modern Retelling of Persephone
February 20–22, 2015
This multidisciplinary puppet play with video and live performance centers on Cora, a contemporary Persephone whose annual return to the "upper air" has been the catalyst for spring. But her role, and the cycle of the seasons, are now in question. Directed and designed by Janie Geiser. Written by Erik Ehn.

All Our Tragic
November 8–9, 2014
All Our Tragic, by Chicago's award-winning company The Hypocrites, is a unique 12-hour theatrical adaptation that combines the 32 surviving Greek tragedies into a single epic narrative. Performed over two six-hour installments, the performance creates a modern festival of Dionysus. Adapted and directed by Sean Graney.

Troubadour Theater Company presents ABBAMEMNON
April 18–20, 2014
Featuring the music of the seminal Swedish band, ABBA, this 90 minute romp employed the theatrical conventions and devices of the Greeks, the Commedia del Arte, and Brecht. Physical and musical, along with a strong emotional core, the Troubies brought the noise, the funk, and the dysfunctional family vibe to life in what is considered by many to be the masterwork of all Greek tragedies.

Four Larks Presents Orpheus
March 14–16, 2014
The Orphic katabasis resonates across cultures and centuries, inspiring poets, painters, and musicians with the potential of art to shift the course of history. This bold new adaptation weaves electrifying visual and physical theater with a hypnotizing live score.

Orpheus follows the golden-voiced hero on his journey through the underworld to rescue his lost love, Eurydice. He sings his way across the River Styx, past the three-headed hellhound, and into the House of the Dead. As he descends into the heart of Hades, Orpheus dares to defy the fates, convincing Persephone to return Eurydice. But will he be forced to accept her mortality once they reach the light of day?

Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble Presents Lysistrata Unbound
by Eduardo Machado, Inspired by Aristophanes' Lysistrata

February 8–10, 2013
Sibling-actors Olympia and Apollo Dukakis lead the cast of an ingenious new script in progress by award-winning playwright Eduardo Machado. This newly imagined "prequel" to Aristophanes' Lysistrata, directed by John Farmanesh-Bocca, tells of an aristocratic Athenian matron who is crushed by fateful events and gradually transformed into the most celebrated peace activist of the ancient world.

Hugh Lupton and Helen Chadwick Perform Hymns to Aphrodite
May 18–20, 2012
Hugh Lupton is one of Britain's greatest living storytellers, carrying forward the ancient bardic tradition. Helen Chadwick is a celebrated composer and singer. Together they present a new work in progress, conjuring tales sacred and profane of the Greek and Roman gods of love.

Like the Getty Villa exhibition Aphrodite and the Gods of Love, this performance of Hymns to Aphrodite explores in story and song the many dimensions of the ancient goddess. Lupton and Chadwick's retelling of her complex mythology encompasses the legend of her miraculous birth, the intrigues involving her many immortal lovers (Zeus, Ares, Poseidon, Dionysus, Adonis, and husband Hephaestus, among others), and the turbulent lives of her children (Eros, Hermaphroditos, Priapus, Rhode, Deimos and Phobos).

Of a performance by Hugh Lupton at London's Barbican Centre, a Times of London reviewer wrote, "I saw banquets and voyages, armies and oceans, battling heroes and ravening gods—all conjured out of thin air by a voice. Film is often thought to be a threat to literature. But the images that billowed and faded in that darkened auditorium were quite different from those that unspool across a screen. I could put my hands in front of my face and the pictures would not vanish. They were inside me. They belonged to me. They were part of the history of the whole of human life."

Rogue Artists Ensemble Presents Songs of Bilitis
March 23–25, 2012
In 1894, the reported discovery of a large cache of exquisite poetry by an ancient Greek courtesan electrified the world of Classical studies. The author was Bilitis, described as an intimate friend and contemporary of the poet Sappho. So sensuous and moving were these poems that they were immediately hailed as classics of ancient erotic literature and began to appear across Europe in sensationally illustrated "private editions." More than a decade later, the poems were unmasked as an elaborate literary hoax, fabricated by an obscure and impoverished French novelist, Pierre Louys—a comrade of the author Andre Gide and composer Claude Debussy, among others. How a flamboyantly heterosexual Parisian avant-gardist came to successfully impersonate a Sapphic Greek poet is the subject of this new work by the acclaimed Los Angeles mask and puppet troupe Rogue Artists Ensemble.

Behind the Scenes with Rogue Artists Ensemble

See the performers in mask and hear Sean Cawelti of the Rogue Artists Ensemble discuss their approach to theater in this video. Plus: a Flickr set of masks and puppets being created for Songs of Bilitis.

Critical Mass Performance Group Presents An Alcestis Project
February 17–19, 2012
The latest work in progress by this ambitious experimental-theater ensemble explored ancient myths of the faithful wife who descends to the realm of the dead. Under the direction of Nancy Keystone, the play 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 presented the first draft of their mythic research.

Troubadour Theater Company Presents For the Birds,
Adapted from the Play by Aristophanes

June 9–12, 2011
The Troubies, as the Troubadour Theater Company is known, are renowned for their deliriously satiric adaptations of theatrical and literary classics set to pop musical scores. Set in the mythical CloudCuckooLand and floating halfway between heaven and earth, the Troubies' newest work is based on Aristophanes' feathery utopian comedy.

Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble Presents
The Madness of Hercules by Seneca

May 20–22, 2011
Considered one of the finest tragedies of the Roman philosopher and playwright Seneca, Hercules Furens portrays one of the most bitter and grotesque legends of this half-mortal son of Zeus―Hercules' maddened slaughter of his own innocent wife and children. Seneca's play asks, how does a man survive his own unforgivable crimes?

Poor Dog Group Presents Satyr Atlas
February 4 and 5, 2011
Half-man and half-horse, the wild and badly behaved Satyrs were legendary companions of Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of wine and theater. In their latest work in progress, Poor Dog Group, rising stars of L.A.'s experimental-theater scene, immersed themselves in ancient satyr drama, imagery, and lore to reinvent the term satyr play.

Go behind the scenes as the group rehearses the work and hear from director Jesse Bonnell on the creative process on the Iris.

The Center for New Performance at CalArts and the CalArts School of Theater: Piedra de Sol (Sunstone)
May 14–16, 2010
Conceived, adapted and staged by Mexican director Maria Morett, this multimedia work for the stage is inspired by the surrealist love poem of the same name by the late Nobel laureate Octavio Paz. Considered one of the poet's greatest works, Piedra de Sol (Sunstone) is a circular poem based on the circular calendar of the Aztecs (or sun stone,) and overflows with images both modern and historical. This original staging is performed in an aural tapestry of English, Spanish and Nahuatl.

Big Dance Theater: Euripides' Alkestis
February 19–21, 2010
Two acclaimed creative forces—renowned translator Anne Carson and the daring, experimental Big Dance Theater—joined in the creation of a new movement-theater version of Alkestis. Euripides' genre-defying play, in which Herakles wrestles Death for the soul of an ideal woman, is one of the playwright's strangest and most beautiful works.

The SITI Company: Antigone
May 15–17, 2009
Director Anne Bogart and the members of her New York City-based ensemble brought to the Villa the first public presentations of their latest project, an adaptation of Sophocles' Antigone by Irish dramaturge and translator Jocelyn Clarke.

Troubadour Theater Company: Oedipus: The King, Mama!
April 17–19, 2009
Los Angeles-based Troubadour Theater Company, a freewheeling, no-holds-barred, commedia dell'arte-flavored ensemble of actors, musicians, and comedians, tackled the ancient Greek tragedy.

Ghost Road: Orestes
February 20–22, 2009
Orestes is the third part of Home Siege Home, a trilogy of new plays based on The Oresteia and devised by Ghost Road, one of California's most ambitious experimental multimedia theater ensembles.

How to Get Here
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.