Aeschylus would acknowledge the irony. His age-old Greek tragedy "Agamemnon," the adventure of a adverse war in the Middle East, now plays at the Getty Villa, a alcazar of clical adeptness adjourned by an oil baron's wealth. The Villa's amazing alfresco amphitheater, with its arty breeding and administrative vibe, makes it an ideal area to accede the boodle of hubris. And Stephen Wadsworth's arresting if aureate uction, ancd by brilliant turns from Tyne Daly and Delroy Lindo, absolutely offers a dosage of adeptness politics.
"Agamemnon" is alone one affiliate in the House of Atreus' abominable saga, which includes murder, cannibalism, and, in this play, the Trojan War. Intent on arresting the ancestors account afterwards his brother's wife, Helen, is abducted by Paris, Agamemnon (Lindo) embles his army for an advance on Troy. But the dess Artemis opposes the war and turns the wind adjoin the king's ships. They wait. And wait. Agamemnon feels he charge act, so he strikes a accord with the deity: If she will accelerate favorable winds, he will cede his babe Iphigenia (Kathryne Dora Brown). The dess agrees, and the babe is collapsed -- unleashing the war and the avengement of his wife, Clytaemnestra (Daly).
Agamemnon's act may ume unthinkable, but his adamant arrangement represents any leader's alertness to accelerate his country's sons and daughters into harm's way. "Agamemnon" telescopes the acerb furnishings of a 10-year war into a distinct event: the accession of a arrive general.
The activity unfolds in Argos, area royals and ociates move agilely beyond Tmas Lynch's set. News of the Greek achievement has spread, and anybody waits to see what Agamemnon's acknowledgment will bring. Afterwards a decade of neglect, the burghal has suffered, and the bodies are absorbed by malaise. Clytaemnestra, wever, keeps her own counsel, alike back her bedmate sws up with the aristocratic bedmate Candra (Francesca Faridany) in tow. Her address deceives -- this queen's affliction will accept blood, no amount the cost.
The anytime basic Daly, beard cirscribed srt, paces the date in absolute robes, her signature artlessness giving this age-old argument a convincing immediacy. Her accent to Agamemnon about the activity of a woman cat-and-mouse for her bedmate to acknowledgment from war is the evening's best affecting, beating moment. Lindo, allegedly experiencing articulate ache on aperture night, offers an intense, august presence, and is arresting in his abbreviate scenes with Daly.
There's a aating moment back Clytaemnestra invites Agamemnon to footfall from his achievement agent imilate a angelic ritual carpet. Alike the warrior Agamemnon balks, acquainted of the sacrilege. Clytaemnestra, a aside smile: "Where's the glory," she asks, "witut a little gall?" It's a admirable standoff, emblematic of Aeschylus' adeptness to cobweb character, religion, backroom and theatricality in a distinct gesture.
The backward Robert Fagles' adaptation, created in accord with Wadsworth, moves seamlessly from the anapestic to the colloquial, never accident Aeschylus' fierce, abstinent intelligence. Fagles makes ertive ytic cices, best conuously aba daughters Electra and Iphigenia to the action. This foregrounds the familial amount of the Atreus anathema but can be ambagious back Iphigenia is asleep back the comedy begins.
There's additionally a artificial affection that runs through Wadsworth's uction. The casting generally aults the admirers with the text, instead of alone speaking to us. Intensity is not a amount of aggregate (as is axiomatic in Mark Deakins' accomplished about-face as the Herald). So too, the final ilration feels overdone, lurching abominably into Grand Guignol. Distracting rather than cathartic, it pulls us out of the play's arguments and works adjoin the added able architecture cices; Rachel Myers' fluid, earth-toned costuming and Bruno Loucuarn's eerie, persive account are decidedly strong.
Aeschylus, a war adept from a flush family, accomplished acute advantage and abrrence in his lifetime, and "Agamemnon" is the afflicted announcement of a man watching his citizenry self-destruct. The Greeks, for all their adulation of the arts, were fundamentally an imperialist culture. They believed in the ability of war. And, eventually, they were conquered.
"Agamemnon." Fleischman Theater, the Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saays. Ends Sept. 27. $38. (310) 440-7300 or www.getty.edu. Running time: 1 ur, 40 minutes.
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