OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Euripides' 'Medea' transported to Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood for stage adaptation

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-07-20T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Euripides' 'Medea' transported to Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood for stage adaptationBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Victory Gardens Theater is presenting the world premiere of "Mojada" by VG Associate Artist Luis Alfaro and directed by Artistic Director Chay Yew.

Previews started July 12 and the opening night is Monday for the run, which continues until Aug. 11 at Victory Gardens Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago.

From the playwright of last season's acclaimed "Oedipus el Rey," this new offering "Mojada" is billed as "a breathtaking re-imagination of Euripides' 'Medea' transported to Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood."

With her husband Jason and companion Tita in tow, Medea crosses into the United States illegally to escape a past filled with betrayal. Upon arrival, she is caught in a struggle to adapt to the new country and to keep her family from breaking apart. Alfaro's modern take on the Greek myth tackles American immigration, family, tradition, mysticism and the explosive moment when they all collide.

"We're very excited to welcome Luis Alfaro back to Victory Gardens with the world premiere of 'Mojada,' for our stage," Yew said.

"When Luis was in rehearsals with 'Oedipus el Rey' last summer, we talked much about his writing a new play specifically for the Mexican American community here in Chicago. We explored the possibility of producing his new play Bruja, his adaptation of Medea. However, during our dramaturgical sessions and his frequent visits to Pilsen, Luis began to see Bruja with a different set of eyes. Starting with a page one rewrite, Luis and I spent time collaborating and workshopping the new and different version of the play. With Mojada, Luis has delved deeper into the issues of immigration, gender and race, created new narratives and characters, and relocated the play to Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. Emotionally raw, political, poignant and powerful, Luis' 'Mojada' was born."

Mojada features Sandra Delgado as Medea; Charin Alvarez as Josefina; Sandra Marquez as Armeda; Juan Francisco Villa as Jason; Socorro Santiago as Tita; and Ricky Reyes and Dylan Lainez sharing the role of Acan.

"Chicago has become both an artistic home and a source of great inspiration for me. I am so excited to return to Victory Gardens Theater to collaborate with an incredible group of Chicago artists, led by my good friend Chay Yew," Alfaro said.

"I spent last summer meeting the communities that make up every neighborhood in this amazing city and I was completely taken with the diversity and politics that Chicagoans wrestle with daily. Chicago is the third largest Latino city in the country. Neighborhoods like Pilsen, Little Village and Humboldt Park come with celebration, as well as challenges. As a result of my conversations with community members, I wanted to revisit the Medea myth to start a meaningful conversation about the contemporary issues that faces Chicago's Latino community. That I get an opportunity to do this and to write a new play at Victory Gardens again is even more fulfilling."

The designers are Yu Shibigaki for the set, David Hyman's costumes, Heather Gilbert's lights, Mikhail Fiksel's sound, Liviu Pasare's projections and Jesse Gaffney for props. The stage manager is Tina M. Jach.

Tickets are $20-$50, with performances at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. FYI: (773) 871-3000 or victorygardens.org.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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