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
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.
See it if promising idea: recast Oedipus as a barrio crime king who takes over from father he slays; scenes of Oed in prison are strong
Don't see it if Oed's "fate" tied to being victim of prison system rather than "the Gods" not that persuasive; in your face acting
See it if Alfaro's fiery reworking of Sophocles' drama set in a LA south-central barrio High octane fusion of machismo & destiny w/fusillade staging
Don't see it if Takes a little time to build its characters & plotline but soon hits its stride & no returning Castano's Oedipus dynamic but often garbled
See it if You’re a Latino or young person (18+) new to theatre who’d be interested in a modern adaptation of a classic over a traditional staging.
Don't see it if You fear a generic combination of Oedipus + modern Latino adaptation — you’d be right. There’s nothing innovative here.
See it if You want to see an urban version of the Greek tragedy
Don't see it if Nudity and explicit sexual scenes upset you
See it if You enjoy a well told re-imagining of a classic. And you don't mind your theater intense and dramatic. Sometimes slow but still very good.
Don't see it if You don't like nudity/simulated sex. While I found this is one of the few plays where it didn't't feel gratuitous, it might be off-putting.
See it if You appreciate intelligent reimagined productions of classics. You are a fan of are my ensemble acting.
Don't see it if You are easily offended by language, violence, or nudity.
“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.”
“'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.”
"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. "
“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."
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
"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."