Photo Flash: MOJADA: A MEDEA IN LOS ANGELES Brings New Light to Immigrant Experience
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of Luis Alfaro's Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles comes to The Armory after a triumphant six-month run in Ashland. Directed by Juliette Carrillo, this powerful adaptation of Euripides' Medea set in modern-day Los Angeles features the same cast as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival run: Sabina Zuniga Varela as Medea, Lakin Valdez as Jason , VIVIS as Tita, Nancy Rodriguez as Josefina, Vilma Silva as Armida, and Jahnangel Jimenez as Acan. New to the company is Ken Yoshikawa as Soldier.
"The reason I adapt the Greeks is to re-interpret them to say something important about the time we're in right now," said Luis Alfaro. "In this case, it's the ongoing immigration debate in this country. Medea embodies the immigrant experience. What is the price we pay when we come to a new country?" he continued. "[Medea] is a whole class of people - extraordinary people who work very, very hard to hold on to who they are as they navigate the waters of immigrating to America. The experience of trying to make it, to fit in, is a universally American experience."
Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles has a limited-engagement three-week run on the U.S. Bank Main Stage. Preview performances begin November 4, opening night is November 10, and the production must close November 26. This production of Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles was originally produced at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Bill Rauch, Artistic Director, Cynthia Rider, Executive Director. Bringing the production to Portland is a return to Portland Center Stage at The Armory's roots for its 30th anniversary season, as the company was originally founded as the Portland branch of Oregon Shakespeare Festival before becoming independent in 1994.
Regular tickets start at $25 and are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased atwww.pcs.org, 503.445.3700, or in-person from the box office (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR). Rush tickets are $20. Students and patrons who are 30 or younger can purchase $30 tickets in premium seating areas. $5 tickets are available for Oregon Trail Card holders through the Arts for All program. Regular tickets are 50% off for active duty or veteran military personnel and their immediate families. Discounts for groups of 10+. General performance times are Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturdayand Sunday matinees at 2 p.m., and a Thursday matinee at noon on November 16.Mojada is recommended for ages 15+; it contains adult situations, sexual references, violent references and some mature language (spoken in English and Spanish). More atwww.pcs.org/mojada.
ABOUT THE PLAY
In this retelling of Medea seen through the lens of immigrants to the United States, playwright Luis Alfaro blends tragedy, wry humor, Mexican folklore and a bracingly modern setting to unleash the power of Euripides' ancient tale of love, transformation and betrayal. The title of the play is based on the Spanish word mojado/a, which translates literally as "wet" and is also a slur akin to "wetback" for Mexican immigrants. In using the word for the title of his play, Luis Alfaro said, "It's a word that has existed in my vernacular since I was little, so it's a word that for me, has a lot of resonance and a lot of power ... I wanted to disarm that word, I wanted the word to re-appropriate itself, I wanted for us to own the word, and see how ugly that word is, and also give it new meaning."
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Luis Alfaro is a Chicano writer/performer known for his work in poetry, theater, short stories, performance and journalism. He is the first-ever resident playwright of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, courtesy of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant. His play Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles had its world premiere at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater in 2013 (Jeff Award for Best New Play) followed by a production at Getty Villa in Los Angeles in 2015 (Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best Adaptation). Alfaro's plays and performances have also been seen at The Public Theater, Magic Theatre, Boston Court, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Primary Stages and The Kennedy Center, among others. He is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship and is currently under commission from Center Theatre Group, Victory Gardens Theater, Magic Theatre and Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the trilogy This Golden State.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival cast reunites in Portland: Sabina Zuniga Varela as Medea (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for the role of Medea in the Getty Villa production of Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles; OSF credits include The Tenth Muse andThe Heart of Robin Hood); Lakin Valdez as Jason (Valley of the Heart at San Jose's The Stage; Mother Road at Goodman Theatre); VIVIS as Tita (Tita in the Getty Villa production;Gibraltar at Thick Description; !CANTINFLAS! at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts); Nancy Rodriguez as Josefina (seven seasons at OSF; Cymbeline on Broadway); Vilma Silva as Armida (22 seasons at OSF, most recently Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor); and Jahnangel Jimenez as Acan (Inherit the Wind at Camelot Theatre Company). New to the company is Ken Yoshikawa as Soldier (recently King Lear at Oregon Adventure Theatre and Coriolanus at Portland Actors Ensemble).
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Bringing the world of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, to life is director Juliette Carrillo (The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window at OSF; world premiere of Lydia for Mark Taper Forum); scenic and costume designer Christopher Acebo (11 seasons as OSF, most recentlyUniSon and Beauty and the Beast); lighting designer Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz (Dead Man's Cell Phone at OSF; Manifest Destinitis at San Diego Repertory Theatre); composer and sound designer David Molina (The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window at OSF; Lydia for Mark Taper Forum); video designer Kaitlyn Pietras (Fable Off-Broadway; The Gin Baby at IRT Theater); dramaturg Tiffany Ana López (director of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre at Arizona State University; founding artistic director of Latina/o Play Project at the Culver Center of the Arts); voice and text director Michelle Lopez-Rios (Julius Caesar at OSF; Measure for Measure at Goodman Theatre); and OSF stage manager D. Christian Bolender.
Regular tickets range from $25 to $80. Rush tickets are $20. Students and patrons who are 30 or younger can purchase $30 tickets in all premium seating areas. $5 tickets are available for Oregon Trail Card holders through the Arts for All program. 50% off regular tickets for active duty or veteran military personnel and their immediate families. Discounts for groups of 10+. Prices vary by date, time, and seating area, and are subject to change.
By Phone: 503.445.3700, 12-6 p.m.
In Person: PCS's box office is at 128 NW Eleventh Avenue; 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on performance days, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on non-performance days
Groups: Discounts available for groups of 10+ by calling 503.445.3794.
Photo Credit: Jenny Graham/Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Medea (Sabina Zuniga Varela) looks at the night sky with her son Acan (Jahnangel Jimenez)
embers of the cast of Mojada (left to right, Nancy Rodriguez, VIVIS, Sabina Zuniga Varela, Jahnangel Jimenez, Lakin Valdez) reenact the arduous crossing of the desert from Mexico to the United States.
Jason (Lakin Valdez) will do anything to ensure a bright future in America for his son Acan (Jahnangel Jimenez)
Josefina (Nancy Rodriguez, left) shares a happy moment with Tita (VIVIS)