Friday, September 19, 2008

Agamemnon at the Getty Villa

I was looking forward to last evening. Right after my research group meeting I made my way to the corner of Pardee Way and Exposition Blvd on the USC campus. Why was I walking toward the - dare I say - business part the campus? The Visions and Voices folks had set up shop there for students to collect tickets, have dinner, listen to a lecture on Greek theater [tragic] and then board a shuttle that would take us to the Getty Villa where we would sit under a starry night and be transported to ancient Greece.

Even though I live so close to the Getty Villa, I had not visited it until last night. It took us only forty-five minutes to get to the Villa. By the time we got there it was almost ten-to-seven. The evening air from the Pacific was cool and I felt as if I had been transported to ancient Rome. The Villa was modeled after an actual Roman one that was buried during the Mt. Vesuvius eruption. We were allowed to wander around the Villa before the start of the play and so I visited the museum for a while. The Getty Villa has an impressive collection of Greek and Roman artifacts. Unfortunately I had only forty-five minutes to check them out. I must go there again, just for the museum.

The amphitheater was doused in subdued lighting which was perfect because we could actually see a starry sky. We were surrounded by the Malibu hills and the mood was very festive and positive. Incidentally, I saw Laura Linney roaming around with her fiance and longtime boyfriend Eric Schauer, both of whom later joined the audience. I recently saw her in "The Squid and the Whale" and her performance was excellent.

Agamemnon was played by Delroy Lindo, while Tyne Daly played Agamemnon's wife Clytaemnestra. Each and everyone gave a strong performance. But I was shaken and stirred by Francesca Faridany's performance of Cassandra which was riveting and I was so completely drawn in, that it jolted and carried my mind to new heights. I was absolutely ecstatic and full of goosebumps on my arms and my spine. The play was written by Aeschylus who lived in Greece between 525 B.C. and 456 B.C. After more than a thousand years, it is still being performed and some of the values that the play touches upon are true to this day. I wonder if he ever realized while he was writing the play that he would be forever immortalized and one day become as famous and as well-known as the gods of his time.

The play ends this month and all the performances are sold-out! I thank the USC Visions and Voices initiative that allowed me to be part of something truly wonderful and awe-inspiring.

No comments: