UIC 2018-19 theater season offers contemporary takes on classic plays
Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles may have laid down the original template for a young hero seeking revenge for the killing of her father at the hands of her mother, but in Luis Alfaro’s retelling, the story receives a modern twist.
In “Electricidad,” the MacArthur award-winning playwright brings Sophocles’ original “Electra” to the modern, gang-controlled streets of East Los Angeles, where the main character vows to revenge the death of her gang-leader father, “El rey,” caused by her mother.
The play kicks off the 2018-2019 University of Illinois at Chicago theatre season, which features the theme this year of “Desperately Holding on to Pieces of the Past.”
“Follow timeless characters in contemporary takes of classic plays as they long and struggle to obtain what they believe is most important,” said Yasen Peyankov, UIC head of theatre and Steppenwolf Theater ensemble member.
Directed by Marcela Muñoz, co-artistic director and managing director of Chicago’s Aguijón Theater, “Electricidad” runs Sept. 28, 29, Oct. 4, 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. Matinees will run Sept. 30, Oct. 3 and Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. A post-show talk, “Vengeance, Fate, and Forgiveness,” will follow the Sept. 30 presentation.
In November, Peyankov directs Anton Chekov’s play, “Three Sisters,” which is set in 19th century Russia. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts adapts the piece, which centers around the rural lives of Olga, Masha and Irina and their longing for a past long-gone and an imagined future in Moscow.
In the spring, UIC will present, “Rome Sweet Rome,” a retelling of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” written by the Jeff Award-winning artists Q Brothers Collective. The Chicago-based collective is known for using rap, hip-hop and theater to update classic stories by using sociopolitical commentary to touch on contemporary politics and issues.
The play opens Feb. 22 and continues Feb. 23, 28, March 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. Matinees will be held Feb. 24, 27 and March 2 at 2 p.m. A post-show talk, “Tyranny, Freedom, and Responsibility,” will follow the Nov. 24 matinee.
The season will culminate with an American classic, Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The play centers on a disturbed Blanche DuBois, who moves to New Orleans to be with her sister and violent brother-in-law — who torments her as she sinks into mental illness.
Derrick Sanders, UIC School of Theatre and Music faculty member and Jeff Award-winning director, directs the play, which opens April 12 with additional performances April 13, 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are April 14, 17 and 20 at 2 p.m. A post-show talk, “Brutality, Kindness, and Grace,” will follow the April 14 matinee.
All performances will take place in the UIC Theatre building, 1044 W. Harrison St. For more information, call the box office at (312) 996-2939 or click here.