Persians Diary – Day 1 – 7/21/14

Sep 01, 2014

Well, another stage in SITI’s journey with the Greeks and the Getty Villa began today. The challenge this time around is to do a full production of Aeschylus’ The Persians, or as we have decided to title our version, “Persians”. The first extant play in the western canon, it is a challenge to be sure and, of course, one that we decided to embrace. Last spring – in April Akiko reminded me today – a small crew of us came out here to read and work on three different plays that the Getty staff wanted us to think about doing  – The Persians, The Bacchae and Ion (both by Euripides). It was a hard decision but eventually Persians is what we landed on and that is what brought us to today, once more driving up the PCH to the Getty Villa in Malibu to rehearse a Greek classic. Sounds like a raw deal, right? To be fair, there are not many places more incredible to spend time in or people to spend time with than the Getty Villa and their staff. When we had our meet and greet I was reminded of what an incredible relationship has blossomed between our two companies. When I went outside at the end of rehearsal to bask in the setting sun on the empty amphitheater where we will perform in just over a month I thought again how lucky I am. The cast took it in and smiled at each other, flirting with the gorgeous air and warm environs. I think we should savor these moments because what I also thought at that moment is “this one’s going to be REALLY hard”. Maybe this is the one that finally defeats us, takes us down. I know, maybe, I’m being a little overly dramatic with the first diary entry and all but it has been in the back of my mind (and I know I’m not the only one) since we began to meditate on doing it seriously a year ago. Just to produce the kind of sound that we are talking about attempting, both chorally and individually, is going to take an incredible amount of energy – both physical and intellectual. A different kind of challenge, to be sure, than Trojan Women, the last play we did here. Of course, we are lucky to have an incredible group of people working together to make it happen – guest artists and company members alike – including one Darron West, our sound designer extraordinaire. It’s been a little while since I’ve been in the rehearsal room with him and I am so thrilled that he is with us on this one. Also, on the sound side is our choral consultant/composer, Victor Zupanc, who I had never met before. He played us his initial compositions that he had recorded himself and they were pretty amazing – intense and fantastical and deeply moving. We started working with him just a bit at the end of rehearsal today but are going to get to go deep in with him most of this week. Before that we trained, Anne began to upload us and inspire us with her interest and vision for the piece, and we read through the play. Day one was already incredibly full. I know I have been jumping around a bit but I am trying to set the stage and am still processing leaving NY and my family to come here for an extended stay. So, for now, I am going to cut out and say good night. Welcome to SITI’s Persians… it should be quite a ride.