OEDIPUS EL REY – A World Premiere At Magic Theatre

Is it all about Destiny?
A re-imagined Classic by Luis Alfaro, now through February 28th

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

MAGIC THEATRE, San Francisco’s home for new plays, kicks off the new year with the world premiere of OEDIPUS EL REY by Luis Alfaro, directed by Loretta Greco. With his unique Chicano swagger and sly sense of humor, Luis Alfaro transforms Sophocles’ ancient tale, Oedipus el Rey, into an electrifying and unforgettable myth for the modern age. As Oedipus (Joshua Torrez) struggles against fate amidst a chorus of prison inmates, his epic journey takes him down California’s dusty Highway 99 from the Golden Gate Bridge to the City of Angels.

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Romi Dias, Joshua Torrez, Marc David Pinate. Photo, Jennifer Reiley

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LUIS ALFARO

Magic is thrilled to give a theatrical home to Luis Alfaro, one of the great renaissance men of the theatre and a brilliant interpreter of the classics.  According to the LA Times, Alfaro “has proved uncommonly adept at telling the stories of outsiders who, lacking validation from without – must find it within.”  The muscular poetry in Alfaro’s Oedipus explores the thirst for power and control while demonstrating the importance of community.  Under the direction of Loretta Greco, the production features a versatile cast of shape-shifting actors, stark theatricality, and explosive music from El Coro (the inmate Chorus).  Asked why it is important to revisit the classics, Greco says “it is incredibly exciting to crack open classical texts and make them accessible to people of all ages, colors, and economic backgrounds. By treating an ancient Greek play as a living, breathing text we hope to engage our entire Bay Area community.”

Oedipus el Rey stars San Francisco actors Carlos Aguirre, Eric Aviles, Marc David Pinate, and Armando Rodriguez as the chorus of prison inmates, and welcomes Romi Dias and Joshua Torrez from NYC in the roles of Jocasta and Oedipus. The production team features set designer Erik Flatmo, light designer Sarah Sidman, costume designer Alex Jaeger, and sound designer Jake Rodriguez.

Oedipus el Rey is a National New Play Network World Premiere. 

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ROMI DIAS and JOSHUA TORREZ. Photo, Jennifer Reiley

MEET THE PLAYWRIGHT
Luis Alfaro is a critically acclaimed writer/performer who works in poetry, plays, short stories, performance and journalism. Chicano born and raised in the Pico-Union district of downtown Los Angeles, he is the recipient of, among other awards, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and an NEA/TCG residency grant. In 2002 he was awarded the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays twice, for his plays Electricidad and Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Alfaro is a member of the New York playwrights’ organization, New Dramatists, and was a resident artist at the Mark Taper Forum, where he is also co-director of the Latino Theatre Initiative. He was a visiting artist at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where he created Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Piñata Woman and Other Super Hero Girls, Like Me, as part of the New Visions/New Voices youth theater program. His play Bitter Homes and Gardens premiered in Los Angeles at Playwrights Arena. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner was commissioned by South Coast Rep and was workshopped at the Public Theater. He teaches throughout Los Angeles including the University of Southern California and California Institute of the Arts.

MEET MAGIC’S ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Loretta Greco, director of Oedipus el Rey, is in her second season helming Magic Theatre where she most recently directed John Kolvenbach’s Goldfish and last season’s hit show Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck. Her Bay Area credits include the critically acclaimed revival of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow and the West Coast premiere of David Harrower’s Blackbird for ACT. Ms Greco’s selected New York premieres include: Tracey Scott Wilson’s The Story (Public Theater /Kesselring Prize/AUDELCO Nom); the Obie Award Winning Lackawanna Blues by Ruben Santiago Hudson (Public Theater); Katherine Walat’s Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen (Women’s Project); Two Sisters and a Piano by Pulitzer Prize Winner, Nilo Cruz (Public Theater/Kesselring Prize), among others. As a Producer, Ms. Greco has developed and produced the work of a variety of distinguished contemporary writers including Athol Fugard, Joyce Carol Oates, Emily Mann, Nilo Cruz, Lynn Nottage, Neena Beeber, Diane Paulus, Rinne Groff, and Lisa D’Amour. Greco received her MFA from Catholic University and is the recipient of two Drama League Fellowships and a Princess Grace Award.

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The cast of Oedipus el Rey. Romi Dias, Joshua Torrez, Marc Pinate,
Armando Rodriguez, Eric Aviles, Carlos Aguirre. Photo, Erin Gilley

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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