November 15, 2013
by Ellen Lampert-Greaux
A massive five-ton wheel set the stage for the world premiere of Joel Agee’s new translation of the Aeschylus classic, Prometheus Bound. Directed by Travis Preston, the production was produced by CalArts Center for New Performance in association with Trans Arts, and seen in the outdoor amphitheatre at The Getty Villa in Malibu, CA, September 5 to 28.
Prometheus, punished by Zeus to remain chained to a mountaintop for stealing fire from Mount Olympus, is, in this case, chained to the kinetic wheel that measures 23.5' in diameter and sits on a base with a footprint of 20'x14'. “The wheel was built at LA ProPoint’s scenic shop in sections, brought into our modular theatre on the CalArts campus, which can handle a 35' height, and assembled there, as the LA ProPoint shop doesn’t have the height,” explains production manager Gary Kechely.
Last July, the wheel was moved to The Getty Villa in sections and assembled on site, using a 90-ton crane that had to reach 110' to swing all the components over the villa. “First and foremost, we looked at what the space had to offer and the logistics of making it work within the construct of The Getty,” says Kechely. “One of the unusual challenges was a black marble stage floor. You can’t fasten anything into it, and it has a level of fragility especially in light of something as big and heavy as the wheel.” Read more .