in conversation with Scott Timberg
House of Names
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
$43 Reserved Section seat + a copy of House of Names
$60 Reserved Section Seat for two + 1 copy of House of Names
$20 General Admission Seat
$95 Reception (6:30-7:30pm) + Reserved Section Seat
+ copy of House of Names
Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, including The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; The Testament of Mary, and Nora Webster, as well as two story collections. Three times shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York. He previously appeared at Live Talks Los Angeles to discuss James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Watch the video.
In House of Names, Colm Tóibín brings a modern sensibility and language to an ancient classic, and gives this extraordinary character new life, so that we not only believe Clytemnestra’s thirst for revenge, but applaud it. He brilliantly inhabits the mind of one of Greek myth’s most powerful villains to reveal the love, lust, and pain she feels. Told in fours parts, this is a fiercely dramatic portrait of a murderess, who will herself be murdered by her own son, Orestes. It is Orestes’ story, too: his capture by the forces of his mother’s lover Aegisthus, his escape and his exile. And it is the story of the vengeful Electra, who watches over her mother and Aegisthus with cold anger and slow calculation, until, on the return of her brother, she has the fates of both of them in her hands.
“I have been acquainted with the smell of death.” So begins Clytemnestra’s tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city from which her husband King Agamemnon left when he set sail with his army for Troy. Clytemnestra rules Mycenae now, along with her new lover Aegisthus, and together they plot the bloody murder of Agamemnon on the day of his return after nine years at war.
Judged, despised, cursed by gods she has long since lost faith in, Clytemnestra reveals the tragic saga that led to these bloody actions: how her husband deceived her eldest daughter Iphigeneia with a promise of marriage to Achilles, only to sacrifice her because that is what he was told would make the winds blow in his favor and take him to Troy; how she seduced and collaborated with the prisoner Aegisthus, who shared her bed in the dark and could kill; how Agamemnon came back with a lover himself; and how Clytemnestra finally achieved her vengeance for his stunning betrayal—his quest for victory, greater than his love for his child.
Scott Timberg is a Los Angeles-based arts and culture writer. A former Los Angeles Times and Salon staffer, he writes these days for The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review online, LMU Magazine, and the New York Times. Timberg edited, with Dana Gioia, the anthology The Misread City: New Literary Los Angeles (Red Hen). He’s the author, most recently, of Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class (Yale University Press), and runs the accompanying ArtsJournal blog CultureCrash. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMisreadCity.