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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trojan Women after Euripides

Cover of the program by The Getty
(Before I get started, I want to welcome my newest follower, my dear sister, Julie, who is about to become a mother-in-law!  Congratulations and welcome! ! !)

The program cast and credit page by The Getty
Last week I went to ancient Troy to witness the aftermath of the end of the Trojan war on the women of Troy.  I first drove to Pacific Palisades to the Getty Villa and then very patiently awaited the transport back in time.  

The back cover of the program - The Getty

They have a small, intimate amphitheater and they use very few props and backdrops.  In this case, the Villa was the backdrop, and their props consisted of an apple, a few simple chairs, a bench and a length of fabric.  But, their performances pack a powerful punch even without complex props and backdrops.  I saw Tyne Daly there in Agamemnon a few years ago and it became my new favorite spot for play watching.  It is the perfect setting for those written by the ancient Greek and Roman playwrights: Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophicles, etc.  

The Getty Villa amphitheater - from The Getty website
The Villa was built by J. Paul Getty to house his growing art collection, and the design was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum.  The buildings are decorated with tile mosaics in themes that are based on those found in Herculaneum and other ancient villas.  They are surrounded by gardens based on those that would have been found around those ancient villas.  Since photography is not allowed during performances, I hope you'll enjoy these photos I took of the villa during a previous visit.  

It was a gorgeous evening, not too warm, not too cool (but I had my blanket ready . . . just in case - as it can get a mite chilly that close to the ocean's edge in the evenings).  I got there early, got my glass of wine, got seated (I snagged a center seat in the 4th row - first come, first choice seating) and waited for the play to begin.  The moon was anxiously waiting for the show to begin, peering over the Villa down to the little stage area.  People began streaming in, bits of conversation were overheard . . . "he said it was like watching a still life" . . . "he can't hear you" . . . "we will be leaving for Italy tomorrow".  And as they settle in, they bring all their peculiar odors with them.  The gentleman to my right must have been in an overly warm room for quite a while and, it would seem, had very recently enjoyed a meal consisting mainly of garlic, and the gentleman in front of him, a member of the press, had apparently just come from a long visit to a cigar club.  I was worried these things would prove too distracting and detract from the enjoyment of the evening.  

However, once the play began, the actors were so good, they immediately grabbed your attention and pulled you into their world so completely, your neighbors nearly all but disappeared.  You became a silent witness to the stark tragedy unfolding before you.  Quite frankly, I was completely mesmerized and brought to tears.  It is a heart-wrenching story about the queen, Hecuba, and her daughters facing the destruction of their city, the deaths of their husbands, father and brothers and the prospect of being divided up and becoming slaves to the victors.  And, let's not forget the infamous Helen, she counts among the Women of Troy as she was the reason for the war.  It is the morning after the Greeks had hidden in the Trojan Horse and while the Trojans were celebrating what they thought was their victory, the Greeks snuck out of the horse and sacked the city.  Ten years of fighting, thousands of lives lost, one of the world's greatest cities completely destroyed; all to rescue and bring home the infamous, beautiful Helen.  All Hecuba's hopes are pinned on her infant grandson, whom she envisions growing up and seeking retribution for them and restoring Troy to her former glory.  But, unbeknownst to her, Andromache had killed her son (Hecuba's grandson) to keep him from suffering a lifetime of slavery or a painful death.

Put yourself on their mailing list so you receive notification of their performances and make sure you go online to order your tickets as soon as they go on sale.  They sell out very quickly!  Once you go, you'll see why!  I, for one, can't wait until the next play!

Well, that's it for now!  I have a long road trip coming up soon, so hopefully I'll have some nice pics to share from my travels!  Hope you have a spectacular day!  See you later!

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