Carey Perloff Will Direct Elektra for Getty Villa in CA

News   Carey Perloff Will Direct Elektra for Getty Villa in CA
A newly commissioned Timberlake Wertenbaker version of Sophocles' Elektra will play the Getty Villa, the Los Angeles-area arts organization devoted to Greek and Roman antiquity, Sept. 2-Oct. 9.

Casting will be announced for the staging directed by Carey Perloff, artistic director of American Conservatory Theater.

This will be the fifth annual outdoor theatrical production in the Getty Villa's Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater. Wertenbaker (Our Country's Good) penned the new adaptation/translation of the classic Greek tragedy that picks up where Agamemnon left off, following the murder of King Agamemnon.

Perloff is celebrating her 18th season as artistic director of Tony Award–winning American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco, where she is known for directing innovative productions of classics, championing new writing for the theatre, and creating international collaborations with such artists as Robert Wilson and Tom Stoppard. Before joining A.C.T., Perloff was artistic director of Classic Stage Company (CSC) in New York.

According to Getty notes, "The story of Elektra carries forward the tragic history of the House of Atreus. Years have passed since the bloody murder of King Agamemnon. While his widow Clytemnestra rules the city with an iron hand, their daughter Elektra lives imprisoned behind the walls of her mother's palace. Every day, she prays to the gods that her exiled brother Orestes might return to avenge their father's death, and every night, the silence of the gods drives her closer to madness."

Perloff first directed Sophocles' Elektra more than 20 years ago at the Classic Stage Company in New York; it was the world premiere of a version by poet Ezra Pound. British playwright Wertenbaker's new translation, specially commissioned for this production, "penetrates the emotional complexity not only of Elektra, but of the surrounding characters as well," according to Getty notes. "Her version preserves the formal structure of the ancient language, while at the same time creating a vividly alive 'contemporary' royal family pushed to the point of desperation." The Getty Villa's annual outdoor theatre performances are meant to enhance the visitor's experience of the ancient world. Elektra coincides with the exhibition "The Art of Ancient Greek Theater" (Aug. 26, 2010–Jan. 3, 2011). The exhibition will be on view before each evening's performance of Elektra.

"The combination of this year's outdoor theatre performance and our special exhibition on Greek theatre will give theatregoers a deeper understanding of the role theatre played in ancient times," stated Karol Wight, senior curator of antiquities for the J. Paul Getty Museum. "Both in the exhibition and throughout the Museum's permanent collection, several references to the story of Elektra and the tragedy of the House of Atreus can be seen in the images painted on ancient Greek vases. The play helps bring these two-dimensional images to life for modern audiences."

The Getty Villa is at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, CA. Performances of Elektra will be held Thursdays through Saturdays. Opening is Sept. 9.

Tickets are $42 ($38 for students and seniors). Ticket prices for the previews are $20. Tickets are now on sale and are available by calling (310) 440-7300 or online at

Additional information is available at

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