by Lorie Lewis Ham
Oedipus El Rey will be opening this weekend at the Selma Arts Center (SAC). We took a moment to chat with the show’s director Rodolfo Robles Cruz recently to learn more!
KRL: Why did SAC pick this show and how did they learn about it?
Rodolfo: I pitched it to the Selma Arts Center this past summer for their 2022-2023 season. I discovered this show during my time at Fresno State, and was lucky enough to see it performed at CSU, Fullerton in 2020. I was inspired to submit it after Dr. Gina Sandi-Diaz directed Electricidad, which is part of the trilogy by Luis Alfaro, at Fresno State. Our goal is to see all three shows produced in the Valley. Electricidad, Oedipus El Rey, and Mojada.
KRL: What is the basic plot of Oedipus El Rey?
Rodolfo: Oedipus El Rey follows the same journey as the classic Greek Oedipus, he is cursed by the same fate. However, we see an epic journey led by a young man freshly out of prison, through his journey we are infused by the Latine community and culture. It is an epic tale with comedy and tragedy.
KRL: What makes this show unique?
Rodolfo: This show is a marriage of Classic Greek theatre and traditional Mexican Storytelling. Audiences will be enthralled by the mysticism and the magical realism, while enjoying nuanced and fine performances by a talented cast of actors.
KRL: I understand that parts of the show are set in the Central Valley, is this a change that you made?
Rodolfo: Nope! It is written with references to the Central Valley with the primary setting in the L.A. area. It further expands the community and the immigration journey from Mexico to the greater part of California.
KRL: You mentioned that the show carries cultural significance and importance in our Central Valley with our Latine communities, can you expand on that?
Rodolfo: The show is written in the language we as Chicanx people speak. In the classic dialect and in dialogue. With infusions of Spanish weaving in through the script. This show offers such a personal and dynamic look into the lives of many Latine individuals. What I think is so special is that it represents the collective experience we as Latine people have lived through. In these voices, I see my South East Fresno Community. And communities all throughout the greater Central Valley.
KRL: Why do you feel that this type of show and message is important right now?
Rodolfo: I am so lucky and honored to be continuing the work alongside Latine theatre Veterans. People who long before me have pushed for this type of theatre in our community which is so impacted by a Eurocentric vision of theatre. But we in the Valley, who are so vastly composed of BIPOC individuals, need to be pushing shows about our communities, and for our communities. Especially with messages as strong as Oedipus El Rey carries.
KRL: What was the hardest part about directing this show?
Rodolfo: Luckily, it’s been a beautiful and smooth ride. My initial worry was making sure we captured the proper spirit and sense of community this show needs to be successful. My cast has been delightful, eager, and formed a community very quickly. It’s easy to feel comfortable and safe in a room of people who look like you and respect your art.
KRL: What did you enjoy the most?
Rodolfo: My team! Both actors and designers. They’ve worked hard and are taking pride in this show visually and viscerally. And SAC has been such a huge support and resource I have been fortunate enough to work with.
KRL: This is a Valley premiere correct?
Rodolfo: It is!
\KRL: What are the dates, times, and location of the show?
Rodolfo: Friday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 19 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 20 at 2 p.m.
Friday, November 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 26 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 27 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 3 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Selma Arts Center, 1935 High St. in Selma CA.
KRL: How much are the tickets and where can they be purchased?
Admission: $21 Adults , $19 Seniors / Student / Military, $15 Children under 13
2 student discount nights for $15 tickets for students with Valid ID.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Rodolfo: Continue to support local theatre! Thank you, KRL!
KRL: Thank you for chatting with us and for bringing to the Valley what sounds like an amazing show!
Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. And don’t miss out on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where we feature mystery stories read by local actors!