Sapo Featuring Musical Group Buyepongo
Los Angeles — The Culture Clash men are at it again to the delight of their fans. Their current production, a fully staged production of SAPO, based on Aristophanes’ The Frogs will debut at the Getty Villa in February. The performance features Buyepongo, an L.A.-based band whose vibrant, polyrhythmic sound fuses cumbia, merengue, punta, jazz, and funk.
Culture Clash’s (comprised of writer-actors Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza) riotous adaptation takes place in three epochs as it dissects three important elements inspired by Aristophanes’ original: An ancient journey on the road to Hell, recent fire storms near the 405 and an after party in the 1970’s with a Latin rock band from the Bay Area also called SAPO (Frog), hoping to meet a record industry God but ending up somewhere between Malibu parties and the El Monte Swap Meet.
The production will be Culture Clash’s fourth dramatic encounter with the ancient playwright at the Villa, having previously performed interpretations of Artistophanes’ Peace and The Birds, as well as last year’s workshop performance of Sapo as part of the Villa Theater Lab’s series of works-in-progress.
In 405 BCE, Aristophanes’ The Frogs won first prize at the Lenaia dramatic festival and was later staged that same year at the Dionysia festival. The comedy tells the story of the god Dionysus who, despairing of the current state of Athens’ tragedians, travels to Hades with his slave Xanthias to bring Euripides back from the dead.
In Sapo, Culture Clash precariously plays on the Aristophanic structure of gods, watery journeys, deception, damsel deities, and a chorus of frogs, while also diving deep into the matter of competing playwrights, who will smartly, fiercely, seriously, and humorously wrestle with their respective and competing bodies of work and styles.
Culture Clash is the nation’s most prominent Chicano-Latino performance troupe, with a body of award-winning work ranging from biting satire to full- length original dramas, to adaptations of Aristophanes. Fan favorites include some of the old time classics such as the 1991 Bowl of Beans, the defining look at all things Chicano; the 2003 Chavez Ravine production which was a look at a displaced Latino neighborhood to may way for the Dodger baseball stadium; and the dark theater noir production of Water and Power a “tragi-humorous take on the city of L.A.”
For 33 years, the Culture Clash has employed the ethnographic workings of social anthropologists, digging deep into America’s margins and racialized culture to formulate their sometimes-outrageous brand of compelling site-specific theater.
The name Buyepongo translates to “cause a ruckus” which certainly describes the scene on the dance floors around the world whenever the band launches into its energetic and instantly infectious rhythms. It also describes Buyepongo’s riotous mash-up of influences, which absorbs hip-hop, punk, funk, and jazz sounds into a tropical blend of styles from across the Latin American diaspora. Like its name, the band is part hybrid, part invention, something untranslatable that nevertheless perfectly captures their uniquely vibrant spirit.
All performances take place in the Villa Auditorium. Performance dates are Friday, February 2, 9, 16, 24, at 4:00 and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, February 4, 11, 18, at 4:00 p.m. (Please note that there is no performance on Saturday, February 17.). This program contains language that may not be suitable for children under 13. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling 310-440-7300 or by CLICKING HERE.