Preview: Oedipus El Rey puts East L.A. spin on Greek classic


Keith Montes

Cesar Garcia as Oedipus is struck by fear when Candice Mason’s spirit character appears during a scene at Oedipus El Rey rehearsal in the DVC Arena Theater on April 13, 2015. The show will run from April 24 – May 10.

Melanie Calimlim, Staff member

Oedipus rises from the centuries-old version we are all familiar with, but with a very different twist. Luis Alfaro, the writer for this version of “Oedipus El Rey,” transforms Sophocles’ tragedy into a modern day fight for Oedipus, an arrogant young man who’s just gotten out of prison, striving to become the ultimate drug lord.

Alfaro does not stray too far from Sophocles’ tragedy; he keeps the basic narrative and character names the same.

However, director Ed Trujillo points out a few differences in Alfaro’s play saying the story takes place in East L.A. and the love story of Jocasta and Oedipus is acted on stage for the audience, rather than it being a back story.

Another of Alfaro’s twists for this rendition is the incorporation of the Spanish language. Tatiana Cafaro, 22, who plays Oedipus’ mother Jocasta, says that she could relate to her.

“Ever since I read that script last March, I was really hooked on Jocasta,” Cafaro says. “I did the audition and somehow got a callback. She and I are really similar. She’s had so much more loss than I have but I connect with her in the sense that I’ve suffered in my life and I use that to fuel the connection.”

The cast has been rehearsing for seven weeks, and have not gotten lazy, says stage manager Amanda Boyan.

“It’s not a small show,” she says. “We have lots of sounds and movement, and costumes, a bunch of cues and fights. I have a pretty good cast … They understand when it’s time to work.”

The cast showed nothing but determination during the rehearsals, sometimes running through the same scenes in order to perfect everything before the big night.

According to Cafaro, such behavior is not uncommon. “We encourage each other,” she says. “We just all come together as a group and really ground ourselves, and say ‘I will lift you up.'”

Trujillo says his cast has risen to the challenge of this adaptation.

“They’re a wonderful cast, and I couldn’t ask for anything better,” he says. “I’m just very, very happy with them. They’re real hardworking and very imaginative.”

“Oedipus El Rey” will run Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. from April 24 through May 10 in the Arena Theater.