The Getty Villa presents Peace, but not as one might expect. Culture Clash is a Chicano/ Latino sketch comedy troupe, which was founded in San Francisco in 1984. This is probably one of the last theater companies one would expect to be performing a classic Greek play; or is it? Peace is a comedy by the Greek playwright Aristophanes that deals with mans greatest folly, war. In the tradition of Greek comedies, the play is vulgar, satirical and at times just plain rude. Still, the potty humor does not overshadow the play’s true purpose – to reveal mans recklessness when engaging in war.
That being said, Culture Clash is probably the best choice for a company to present this play. Culture Clash performs pieces that are relevant to their audience. The company tackles issues of race, religion and government – pretty much anything that may normally be “off limits.” They challenge society through satire, and while on the surface they may just seem like a bunch of silly guys, their performance has a message.
Director Bill Rauch has done something extraordinary in this production of Peace. Rauch, in collaboration with Culture Clash, has created a piece that is true to the Aristophanes’ vision while being nonetheless timely and immediate.
The company has first updated some of the characters: Trygaeus (now called Ty Dye) is not just a farmer; he is a pot farming, sex-loving hippie who just wants peace. The play itself has been condensed into a 90-minute show, which allows no time for beats, breaks or rests, and keeps the audience (and the actors) on their toes. And while they still base the play in ancient Greece, they make sure not to miss an opportunity to take jives at the Malibu patrons or the Villa itself.
If it is not clear already, this humble patron of the theater sends Peace to you highly recommended. Peace at the Getty Villa runs through Oct. 3, with a dialogue between cast and co-author John Glore on their final performance day. Call (310) 440-7300 or visit www.getty.edu for tickets. And I hope to see you at the theater.