A secret location


march/april 2014

developed at the Getty Villa Theatre Lab

The Orphic katabasis resonates across cultures and centuries, inspiring poets, painters, and musicians with the potential for art to shift the course of history. This bold new adaptation weaves electrifying visual and physical theater with a hypnotizing live score.

Four Larks creates a “thrilling theatrical bricolage,” leaping from Ovid to Virgil, with a melody from Monteverdi and a rhyme from Rilke, to resurrect this myth embedded in our cultural memory. Four Larks’ wildly inventive orchestration fuses ancient traditions and modern avant-pop with an acoustic soundscape created by folk and classical instruments, found objects, and otherworldly vocals. This exuberant ensemble of actor-musicians brings together some of Melbourne and Los Angeles’ most exciting new voices.

Created by Four Larks
Direction and movement by Mat Sweeney & Sebastian Peters-Lazaro
Music by Mat Sweeney & Ellen Warkentine
Lyrics by Jesse Rasmussen

Max Baumgarten Sisyphis, etc
Zachary Carlisle Sanders Orpheus
Caitlyn Conlin Tantalus, etc
Danny Echevarria Violin
Genevieve Fry Harp
Reuben Liversidge Charon, etc
Esala Liyanage Percussion
Kristian Rasmussen Percussion
Lisa Salvo Eurydice
Mark Skeens Hades, etc
Cassandra Ward Persephone, etc

set and properties by Sebastian Peters-Lazaro
lighting design by Tom Willis
master carpenter Max Baumgarten
costume design by Amanda Wing Yee Lee
costume assistant Joanna Reynolds with Anne-Aurelie Pillet
foyer sculptures and additional materials sourced by Regan Baumgarten
hair & makeup by Amy Dickinson with Jesse Rasmussen, provided by FACE Stockholm
associate producer / media captain Em Gift
promotional images by Eugene Lee
promotional film by Gabriel Peters-Lazaro
production assistance by Em Gift, Mallory Gross, Alessandro Rumie & Stephanie Butterworth
set & costume design originally developed by four larks with Ellen Strasser & Mallory Gross

KCRW / Opening the Curtain

Bitter Lemons

“Orpheus marks Four Larks’ auspicious Los Angeles debut..It’s a stupendous production, it’s awe-inspiring, and it’s incredibly moving…the staging is spectacular…Its experience is edgy and ethereal…a wildly successful update of the myth.”

“Unmissable!…When’s the last time you were in a theater lobby and you felt a sense of anticipation? Maybe even that delicious feeling of the unknown? From the very first moments Four Larks manages to capture that excitement with their junkyard opera…
Discover a hidden jewel on the edge of downtown LA…Let’s hope this found treasure is only the first of many.”
NPR / Opening the Curtain (KCRW)

“Four Larks’ first LA venture is a downright downtown happening…This inventive “junkyard opera” expands on the enchanting sense of occasion…The underworld may be envisioned as a desert, but the creators’ imaginations couldn’t be more lush…The ethereal score blends classical and folk sounds. In fact, every element hitches highflown ambition to a DIY aesthetic that keeps pretension at bay…This enthralling take on eternity passes all too quickly.”

“Orpheus is quite spectacular, a veritable feast for the eyes and ears and even – God forbid – at times for the heart. The music and the voices especially, all performed and inhabited by this incredibly committed and tightly unified ensemble is truly something to behold.”

“…a dreamy, expressionistic interpretation of the classical Greek myth…The performers move, sway, declaim, sing and play musical instruments—deftly choreographed like the ebb and flow of a gentle tide…The company infuses the melancholy tale with occasional flashes of humor and whimsy while preserving its solemnity…The gorgeous harmonies contained within this operatic tone poem are heartrendingly pure.”
ARTSBEAT LA / LA Drama Critics Circle

“Orpheus carefully constructs temporal, ephemeral beauty for their audience in seventy minutes of operatic moments…Stellar ensemble work and art direction…Four Larks’ attention to light and shadow, and ability to create soundscapes and visual trickery to engage the senses is both unique and phenomenal in it’s quality and power.”