Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Oedipus El Rey: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

We last reviewed Luis Alfaro's "Oedipus El Rey" in 2010. We loved it then and now, nine years later, the show has evolved into the same story but with a new cast and even more punch. We liked everything about this show, from the Greek chorus made up of Chicano prisoners in Central California, to the cast and direction by Loretta Greco, who also directed the earlier version. We get a new Oedipus (a muscular Esteban Carmona)...

...and a new and sexy Jocasta (Lorraine Vélez, with a difficult role - after all, Oedipus has sex with his mother.)

Sean San José, Juan Amador, Gendell Hing-Hernández and Armando Rodríguez are the Greek chorus as well as having individual roles as players in Sophocles' classic tragedy.

There are so many things to like. The music (Jake Rodríguez ), lights (Wen-ling Liao) and costumes (Ulises Alcalá) all add to this tableau of a community completely tied to its roots, good and bad. Change is to be suspected and newcomers must prove themselves to their elders.

We loved these elders, who dispensed wisdom and also, at other times, sold paletas, cell phones and tamales.

We are quite familiar with Pico-Union, the L.A, neighborhood where Alfaro has set his new Oedipus. Obviously, Alfaro knows it too. Everything about this show feels real. You can't say anything better than that.

RATINGS: ☼  ☼  ☼  ☼

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division is overjoyed to see "Oedipus el Rey" again. We grant FOUR STARS to this production and hope everyone gets a chance to come see it while it lasts.

"Oedipus El Rey"
The Magic Theatre
Fort Mason, Building D, San Francisco
Through June 23

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