Oedipus El Rey (2015) is Luis Alfaro’s adaptation of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, a masterpiece of Greek theatre.
The Story of Oedipus Rex
Oedipus Rex tells the story of Oedipus, king of Thebes, as he tries to resolve a plague that is ravaging his land.
Oedipus sends his brother-in-law Creon to ask the oracle at Delphi what is plaguing Thebes. Creon reports that the plague is caused by moral failure because the murderer of King Laius has never been caught.
Oedipus asks the blind prophet Tiresias for help. At first Tiresias won’t answer, saying only that Oedipus should abandon his search. When Oedipus becomes enraged and abusive, Tiresias tells the king, “You yourself are the criminal you seek.” On his way out, Tiresias says that the murderer is a citizen of Thebes, brother and father to his own children, and son and husband to his own mother.
Oedipus is one who accepts no advice and is quick to blame others. Pursuing the answer, he attacks everyone until the answer is revealed.
On discovering that Oedipus himself is the murderer and his queen Jocasta is actually his mother, Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus gouges out his own eyes in shame.
Oedipus Rex considers fate vs free will, responsibilities of the individual vs. the state, and seeing vs. not seeing.
Oedipus El Rey
Alfaro sets the story in the barrios of South Central, Los Angeles. Oedipus is a troubled Latino who dreams of controlling his own life. Tiresias is a life coach who charges cash. Jocasta is a spoiled rich housewife. The Greek chorus is a “coro” of gangbangers.
Oedipus El Rey in New York City
Oedipus El Rey gets its New York Premiere at the Public Theater in the East Village Tuesday – Sunday, October 3 – November 19, 2017.
Directed by Chay Yew in collaboration with The Sol Project
Juan Castano is Oedipus
Juan Francisco Villa is king Laius, the father of Oedipus
Sandra Delgado is queen Jocasta, the mother of Oedipus
Joel Perez is Creon, the brother of queen Jocasta
Julio Monge is the blind prophet Tiresias
Brian Quijada is chorus
Reza Salazar is chorus