Closed 1h 40m
Oedipus El Rey
East Village
82

Oedipus El Rey NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(89 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
9%
Negative
0%
Members say
Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Intense, Great staging

About the Show

The Public Theater and the Sol Project present this new take on the classic Greek tragedy, set in South Central LA.

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Member Reviews (89)

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80
Powerful, Well-staged, Intense, Thought-provoking, Imaginative

See it if intense, inventive theater appeals to you. This retelling is powerful. Largely well-acted w/strong staging. Some lines fell flat.

Don't see it if you get thrown by Spanglish. Or you want elaborate sets/costumes. Some fun effects, though (use of jail doors, sound, lights). Full nudity. Read more

90
Intense, Clever, Edgy, Raunchy, Profound

See it if L.A. urban gang is beset by Greek tragedy. Humans dare to ignore/defy their gods/fate. Raw, sexual, brutal, powerful, alive.

Don't see it if You are not up for a violent expressionist modern rendition of a Greek classic. Full male & female nudity and a long sex scene.

Critic Reviews (16)

October 25th, 2017

“Directed by Chay Yew with energy and flair...What Sophocles left offstage — the violence, the sex — Mr. Yew confidently stages. What preoccupied the Greeks — the shepherds, the oracles, the hunt for Laius’s murderer — falls away. This gives 'Oedipus El Rey' swagger, oomph and economy, but it also makes for a salacious watch...Mr. Alfaro’s version is both a reiteration of a classic tale and an invitation to flip the script.”
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October 24th, 2017

“'Oedipus El Rey' doesn’t come into its strength right away, but stick with it...Alfaro’s retelling of ancient myth builds to kiln-hot intensity...There are exchanges of real richness between Oedipus and Jocasta—their mutual seduction is extraordinarily brave and tender...It takes a while for Alfaro to find Sophocles, for director Yew to find Alfaro and for all the actors to find one another. But when they do, it turns out those old Greek timbers are more than ready to catch fire again.”
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October 25th, 2017

"Often this 'Oedipus', both play and character, seems flattened out. As Alfaro checks off the boxes of the Greek tragedy’s backstory, he tends to drain the source material of its cosmic horror, ending up with a plodding coming-of-age story to which we all know the inevitable end...Alfaro’s 'Oedipus' undoubtedly examines a world that’s ripe with narrative potential, but tonally, he ends up shrinking the play instead of widening its scope. "
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October 24th, 2017

“A production that fully engages our senses and emotions...An adaptation that feels both urgently relevant and timeless...The whole stage pulses with life under the sweaty, passionate direction of Yew...An intimate moment between Jocasta and Oedipus is among the sexiest things one can legally see on a New York stage...Alfaro illuminates the ancient themes of the Oedipus story in thrillingly modern ways, giving us a new appreciation for the myth."
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October 25th, 2017

“Under the notably clean, clear, and focused direction of Chay Yew, this timeless tale remains as gripping as ever...Every member of the cast has caught the distinct urban rhythm of Alfaro's dialogue...Alfaro has taken one of the world's oldest stories and made it as new as today. That's a pretty mighty achievement all by itself; he delivers on the promise, made by the chorus, that the story of Oedipus is really a story about us.”
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October 24th, 2017

“The playwright has filled the work with layers of meaning and with strong connections between the mystic and the naturalistic, while all the while keeping it convincingly planted with one foot in the realm of the ancient and the other in the modern...Under the astute guidance of director Chay Yew, is a well-conceived and original take on the Oedipus myth, nicely brought to fruition by a fine cast and production team.”
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October 25th, 2017

“This new version of Sophocles' ancient classic is marked with violence, rage, and passion...Playwright Luis Alfaro nimbly skates over the surface of the Oedipus story, only lingering when it comes to the love affair between Oedipus and Jocasta...As directed by Chay Yew, this all plays out as a soul-stretching experience, a great chance to experience Sophocles’ great classic in a steamy Latin key.”
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October 26th, 2017

"I was profoundly moved by this play. The vision and artistry of the playwright, Luis Alfaro. The strength of the cast and the excellence of the production values. Not to mention the incredible courage of the actors playing Oedipus and Jocasta, and the sensitivity and deftness of the direction by Chay Yew, all combined to produce an experience I keep hearing and seeing in my head."
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October 24th, 2017

"Thrilling...The play pulses with a rhythm much like a drive down a south central LA street...The Jocasta-Oedipus love story has always existed but only by implication with the text, and here in this deeper examination, we find the electricity...The look and feel of this production is as simple as it is powerful...No one is going to get out unscathed in 'Oedipus el Rey,' except for maybe all these wonderfully talented artists involved in this powerful and electrifying production.”
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October 30th, 2017

"The moral becomes something far more tangible and relevant than, say, the validity of fatalism...Alfaro’s adaptation takes a close look at the relationship between Jocasta and Oedipus. The scenes between them are tender and vastly different from the rest of the play...Director Chay Yew has a way with maintaining the rhythm of this complex, multigenerational epic...It is without a doubt a refreshing take on a familiar story, too familiar."
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T
October 24th, 2017

“Deconstructs the classic distilling it to its essence and reconstructs the tragedy with a painful and sometimes disquieting relevance to metamodernism...Mr. Alfaro’s play is something new and transcendent...The focus on the love between Oedipus and Jocasta is refreshing and transformative...Alfaro’s 'Oedipus El Rey' raises rich and enduring questions, some timeless, some relevant to the current socio-economic environment.”
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November 3rd, 2017

"Luis Alfaro’s modern adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy turns it into something new and shocking, bringing on stage what the Greek playwright kept off stage, in an intense, visceral production...If it begins feeling stagey, 'Oedipus El Rey' becomes brutal and direct, but also graphically sensuous and oddly tender - ultimately in all ways gripping...'Oedipus El Rey' builds in power in large part due to its committed cast."
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October 24th, 2017

“A more apt title would be ‘Oedipus Sex’...One of the longest nude scenes on stage between two actors. Certainly, it is one of the most movingly crafted and perform...Chay Yew doesn’t so much direct as choreograph this very fast trajectory from prison to freedom to entrapment, spreading it across a vast panoramic canvas...Under Yew’s direction, Alfaro and his actors take the opposite route to the characters’ expected tragic ends.”
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October 25th, 2017

"Alfaro’s modern adaptation might leave you puzzled...The lengthy love scene emphasizes the performers’ nudity at the expense of their thoughts and emotions...The thought-provoking analogy between destiny and a system of oppression calls for more complexity...Produced in collaboration with Padrón’s excellent Sol Project, dedicated to creating space for Latinx playwrights...It’s a vital and necessary endeavor...Ditto Alfaro’s vision for contemporary L.A.”
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October 24th, 2017

“A spectacular production...Energetic performances, excellent use of a spare but effective set, dramatic lighting and music all make a powerful impression. This in spite of the fact that the play itself—though it begins well and is intelligent and often funny—in the end doesn’t satisfy....The writing never quite offers a sense of authenticity...One can feel the vibration of ideas within Mr. Alfaro’s work. But like so many problematic plays, this one feels like it can use a few rewrites.”
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October 24th, 2017

“Delgado brings a wanting and vulnerability to the unlucky queen, though the script's heavy foreshadowing in her dialogue lays it on too thick. The same is true for the chorus…The most impressive part of "Oedipus El Rey," is how it builds upon Sophocles' existential questions about the nature of humanity and grounds them in important social commentary about incarceration and people of color…An engaging new take on an old story.”
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