The Heal Premieres at the Getty Villa Theatre
Between the traffic, questionable air and hustling, Los Angeles certainly can seem like a grind. It’s easy to get caught up in the congestion and overlook the beauty that LA has to offer. I was reminded of this when I headed out to the Getty Villa for opening night of their 2019 theatrical production, The Heal.
Not to be confused with the Getty Center Museum off of the 405, the Getty Villa lays just steps from the ocean off the Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades. In addition to the exquisite works of art to see, the Getty Villa has been hosting yearly live plays at their Villa Theatre since its re-opening in 2006. This was my first time experiencing their theatre, and I already cannot wait to see what next year will have in store.
Arriving to the Getty Villa
When my girl Melanie from LA Explorer invited me to opening night of The Heal, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. After a gorgeous ride along Highway 1 and watching the sunset over the ocean, I arrived with a bit of time to spare and enjoyed the gardens of the Villa. While the Getty Center offers a more diverse range of artistic periods, the Villa takes you away to a true to form Roman empire villa and works of art that complement that era.
Prior to showtime, we checked out the Getty Cafe to see what was cooking for dinner. I was impressed to find two gluten-free dishes as well as a flour-less chocolate cake for dessert. I decided on the lemon oregano chicken with polenta and veggies with a glass of Pinot Grigio to cool down a bit. We’re in the midst of an infamous LA heatwave and despite being by the water, it was still a hot one. Gluten-free and vegetarian or vegan? The cafe will have you covered with an entree Greek salad.
Opening Night of the Heal at the Getty Villa
The Heal is a bold new version of Sophocles’s timeless tale of hurting—and healing. The wounded Philoctetes (Phil) has suffered alone on a desert island for years, stranded there by Odysseus. But now Odysseus needs Phil’s magic weapons to win the Trojan War and enlists Achilles’s daughter Nia to help make peace.
The play begins in song as composer Cliff Eberhardt remains on stage with guitar in hand throughout the 85 minute performance. We’re soon introduced to Odysseus (Lester Purry) and Nia (Kacie Rogers). Amidst the Trojan War, Odysseus must locate Phil (Eric Hissom) and obtain his mighty bow and arrow. While skeptical, Nia soon finds herself with Phil and learns just how deep his pain is. Thus begins an in-depth and poignant examination of just how wounded every single one of us are, yet we all have the power to heal.
To ensure the audience is on the same page throughout the story, a trio of singers (Eunice Bae as Melpomene, Emma Lou Hebert as Callope and Jaquita Ta’le as Thalia) offer musical interludes to explain in “modern song” what is happening as we move through the tale. These 3 ladies were a highlight to The Heal and the crowd loved their sassy attitude.
Hissom shines as our wounded hero. While ragged and torn upon his introduction, he takes us on a true journey of healing and transformation that reminds us that just because you may be in despair it doesn’t mean it has to be your destiny.
The Heal Plays through September 28th
Director/adapter Aaron Posner has created an irreverent, spiritual, musical exploration about the wounds we carry, the ones we cause, and the redeeming power of human connection. The Heal plays at the Getty Villa through September 28th. Tickets are going fast, so reserve yours HERE and get ready for a beautiful evening of theatre under the stars at the Getty Villa! xo
See some behind the scene photos from this evening on my Instagram Stories.
(*Disclosure: I was a guest at The Heal media night thanks to LA Explorer. All opinions are my own.)