Oedipus el Rey: Steve Torres and Rodney Garza
Get tickets now to experience this extremely unique and thought-provoking production at Dallas Theater Center grappling with fate versus free will.

Theater Review: Oedipus el Rey

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© Photo by Karen Almond | Enlarge Photo

Pictured: Steve Torres and Rodney Garza


Every neighborhood has its own particular disturbing and/or disconcerting noises.


In the northern suburbs, dogs bark incessantly and teenagers drag race along the main strips on any given Friday night. Near the downtown high rises, motorcyclists over-accelerate obnoxiously and emergency sirens wail in reverberation between the buildings. On the south side, residents eventually become numb to the all-too-often instances of triggered car alarms, gun shots, and search helicopters hovering overheard.


So don't get too comfortable with the festive pre-show music wafting through the air of the Wyly's sixth floor lobby because it won’t be long before the record scratches loudly and those soothing sounds are abruptly replaced with in-your-face drill-sergeant-style commands being barked out in your direction. You will get in a single file line! You will be told where to sit! You will smell cigarette smoke! Stand toward the front of the line, and you might get stage blood* on your clothes!


You might even hear your own heartbeat increase a bit as you walk into an extremely small theater space intentionally designed to elicit a certain small degree of anxiety. Set to give the impression of being inside a state prison (set design by Matthew McKinney), the acting arena is just a mere several square feet on the floor with a few stairs that lead up to a perimeter catwalk of sorts where inmates lift weights, narrate stories, and hurl forth challenges … with the audience ‘trapped’ in between. Don’t plan on leaving for any reason. You will not be allowed to return.


You won’t want to leave though; the play is riveting. Oedipus (Philippe Bowgen) is a young Chicano male who's spent most of his formative years in juvenile detention centers and now finds himself incarcerated yet again. This time however he has a paternal force, Tiresias (Rodney Garza), who has gotten himself locked up with the purpose of taking care of Oedipus and ushering him toward a better way of life. Despite Tiresias’ stern warnings against heading back to the vicious Los Angeles barrios and his prompting to find honest work on a buffet line in Las Vegas, Oedipus has aspirations of becoming a gangland kingpin in charge of his own fortune and destiny. Once on the outside, Oedipus reconnects with former fellow inmate Creon (Brierly Resident Acting Company member Daniel-Duque-Estrada) and falls in love with Creon’s sister Jocasta (Sabina Zuniga Varela). Steadily, Oedipus begins to repair the damaged pieces of his life … or are the parts being reconstructed for him?


Get tickets now to experience this intense new take on the age-old struggles encountered when choosing between an uncharted path of opportunity as opposed to the comfort of familiarity, an exciting newfound love which attempts to dethrone unrelenting long-term pain, and the idea that one can change his stars versus the acceptance that one is simply doomed to continue repeating the sins of his past. Oedipus el Rey runs at Dallas Theater Center through Sunday, March 2, 2014. Seating for each performance is extremely limited and many shows are already sold out. Run time is approximately ninety minutes with no intermission.


Note: Please do heed all viewer discretion advisories; this fascinating albeit graphic depiction contains mature themes, adult language, violence, extended full nudity, and cigarette smoke. | *Stage blood is washable.


Feel free to take part in Dallas Theater Center's Come Early program, an informative 30-minute lecture that will be offered at no cost before every performance of every play at DTC.  Beginning one hour before each show in the Wells Fargo Come Early Lounge, you can hear a member of the cast or artistic staff share the play's origin and context as well as insight into the creative process behind the production.  You may also want to stay late afterward for the free, brief, post-show conversation with a cast member (sponsored by Dr Pepper Snapple Group) where you can interact with the artists and hear dialogue about various interpretations from other audience members.


With the new DTC Stage Pass, you can attend as many Dallas Theater Center performances as you'd like for just $25 per month. Just show up to the theater up to an hour and a half before show time and get the best available ticket for that performance.

Dallas Theater Center - Information


DTC is one of the leading regional theaters in the country, produces classic as well as contemporary plays, and performs for over 90,000 North Texans annually.

Dallas Theater Center - Know Before You Go

FlashPoints Reviews

Information about dressing for Dallas Theater Center productions as well as seating considerations and maps and directions.

Dallas Theater Center - Reviews

FlashPoints Reviews

Reviews of currently running and/or previous Dallas Theater Center productions performed at the Wyly Theatre in the AT&T Performing Arts Center.