Wheel of Fortune
Photo by Steve Gunther
CalArts is known for the many exceptional, professional opportunities that it offers its students as part of their education, providing them with unique experiences, challenges, and chances for accomplishment. But an upcoming production that features an innovative staging may exceed even the Institute’s high standards.
In September, CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP) in association with Trans Arts will produce the ancient Greek drama, Prometheus Bound, at the Getty Villa in Malibu. CNP is the Institute’s professional producing arm, giving many CalArts’ students their first immersion into professional theater. Its artistic director is Travis Preston, dean of the School of Theater, who is also the director of Prometheus Bound.
A Promethean Production
With a newly-translated text by poet and essayist Joel Agee, the production also features a monumental set piece: a mammoth 5-ton steel wheel, 23-feet tall, on which the actors perform. The wheel represents the mountaintop on which Prometheus has been chained as punishment for stealing fire from Mount Olympus to give to mortals. The wheel was designed by Efren Delgadillo, Jr. (Theater MFA 03), a scenic designer and CalArts faculty member. Alumna Ellen Reid (Music MFA 11) and CalArts faculty member and celebrated jazz multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia wrote original music for the production.
As a CNP production, Prometheus Bound includes contributions from 45 CalArts students and alumni, including several actors, the assistant director, the associate producer, the technical director, and the stage manager. Given the intense competition for employment opportunities in the arts, CNP provides a critical bridge to the professions for CalArts students.
"It’s a great opportunity for CalArts, because the Getty is such a tremendous partner... This gives our students opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have."
-Travis Preston, Dean, School of Theater
A First for Students
"This will be the first professional experience for many of our students," Preston says. "Instead of just working in the classroom structure, they’re playing very significant roles.
“We’re planning for students on the acting side to get their union cards through this production. This is a very important dimension of our mandate–to give our students professional relationships, contacts, and experiences. And it’s a great opportunity for CalArts, because the Getty is such a tremendous partner and is well funded. This gives our students opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have.”
Prometheus Bound will be performed Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm from September 5–28.