Euripides Bacchae, Outdoors at Getty Villa
Packed with striking scenes, frenzied emotion, and choral songs of great power and beauty, Bacchae endures as one of Euripides's greatest surviving works. Dionysus, the god of wine, ritual madness, fertility, and theater, arrives in disguise at his birthplace in Greece. As revenge for a personal slight, he begins to spread his cult among the people of Thebes. His adversary King Pentheus, fearing the ensuing disorder, imprisons him to suppress his influence. This misguided attempt to thwart divine will leads to catastrophe for Pentheus and his entire family. The bacchants called Dionysus "the god of letting go," reminding us to respect our human wildness. Otherwise we may fall prey to the tyranny of excessive order or the chaos of collective passion. See Bacchae in Pacific Palisades at The Getty Villa's Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater, an outdoor venue modeled after ancient Greek and Roman theaters.
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