Review Roundup: OEDIPUS EL REY At Magic Theatre
Magic Theatre presents the 10th Anniversary Legacy Revival of Luis Alfaro's Oedipus el Rey, the Company's final production of the 2018-2019 season. Oedipus el Rey will be directed by Loretta Greco, who also directed Magic Theatre's World Premiere of Oedipus el Rey in 2010.
Set in South Central L.A., Oedipus el Rey is a gritty and electrifying take on the Greek tragedy, written by the acclaimed Magic playwright Luis Alfaro. Oedipus is reimagined as a young man whose dreams of controlling his own destiny soar beyond the prison walls where he's spent his life. In a place where everyone is trapped by desperation, violence, and history, can one man transcend his own story? Love, family, and belief collide in this chilling, muscular odyssey that asks: what's fate and what's just the system?
The cast of Oedipus el Rey features Esteban Carmona* as "Oedipus," Lorraine Velez* as "Jocasta," Sean San José* as "Coro," Juan Amador as "Coro," Armando Rodriguez* as "Coro" and Gendell Hing-Hernandez* as "Coro."
In addition to Mr. Alfaro and Ms. Greco, the creative team includes Hana Kim** (Scenic/Projection Design), Ulises Alcala** (Costume Design), Wen-Ling Liao** (Lighting Design), Jake Rodriguez (Sound Design), Amanda Marshall (Stage Manager), Sonia Fernandez (Dramaturg), Libby Martinez (Props Design)
Jim Munson, BroadwayWorld: The stunning production of Luis Alfaro's "Oedipus El Rey" (his reimagining of the Oedipus story) currently running at the Magic Theatre might make you want to reconsider. It's visually arresting, genuinely moving, and slyly humorous - oh, and also seriously sexy, all in a taut 95-minute running time. The Magic presented the world premiere of this play back in 2010 and is bringing it back in this new production as a legacy revival. Given the current, unsettling political discourse on immigrants, this revival could not feel more timely.
Steven Winn, Datebook: That's the powerfully refractive lens playwright Luis Alfaro holds up to one of the signal Greek tragedies in "Oedipus el Rey," which opened Friday, June 7, in a 10th anniversary "legacy" revival at Magic Theatre. This potent, multifaceted work, widely produced over the past decade, returns to the theater that premiered it.
George Haymont, Medium: In the decade since its world premiere at Magic Theatre, Alfaro's play has received 22 productions. Magic Theatre is currently presenting a "legacy revival" of Oedipus El Rey with costumes by Ulises Alcala, lighting by Wen-Ling Liao, sound design by Jake Rodriguez, tattoos by Jacquelyn Scott, and projections by Hana Kim. Once again, the production packs a wallop, having lost none of its dramatic strength.
Kedar Adour, For All Events: The story is symbolic of Latinx life with confinement in the barrio and prison being the facts of life. This harsh environment is wrapped in Alfaro's cryptic yet poetic language that is embraced by all the actors and magnified by Greco's brilliant direction.
Carol Benet, For All Events; After 10 years the Magic is currently replaying "Oedipus El Rey", an update of Sophocles' Greek Classic. Luis Alfaro, winner of a MacArthur Genius Grant and many other awards, playwright, director at important American theaters and professor, has always been at the forefront of the Latino theater movement. This is the play's fourth production at the Magic where it was nurtured starting 10 years ago. Since then it has had 20 productions nationwide showing that this play is eternally relevant to society's problems
Douglas Konecky, San Francisco Theatre Blog: 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.
Christine Okon, Theater and Such: Brimming with machismo, afire with passion and rage, and studded with vivid (to say the least) urban Spanish idioms, Oedipus El Rey is a powerful journey of a soul traversing the past, present, and future in realms of the physical and mystical to reach a painful self-discovery. Alfaro weaves his own ancient and contemporary Hispanic roots into a complex tapestry of cultural beliefs, expectations, spirituality, and street-survival.