'Electricidad' produced by Downey director

LOS ANGELES -- Last Friday was opening night for the 3-week run of "Electricidad," a play produced and directed by Downey theater artist Sylvia Blush. The play, written by Luis Alfaro, is modeled after the Greek tragedy "Electra" and its themes of divided loyalties and revenge, but with a contemporary setting among the gangs of east Los Angeles.Blush said she connected with the play when she first read it two years ago, and "knew instantly" that she wanted to direct it. Blush has inspired a mesmerizing performance by an ensemble cast at the intimate Carmen Zapata Theater north of downtown Los Angeles. The title character, Electricidad, is both devastated and then enraged to learn that her mother, Clemencia, has killed her father. The tension builds throughout the play as other family members try to talk Electricidad out of killing her mother in an act of revenge. Even though the dialogue is peppered with the "Spanglish" of southern California, the audience has no trouble recognizing the tradition of the Greek chorus in the appearance of the three vecinas (neighbors) who shed light on the neighborhood murder and foreshadow coming events. The production skillfully alternates tension with comic relief as life continues amid the tragedy of desperate characters. While revenge is a universal issue for all cultures, Alfaro also uses the play as a vehicle for exploring the particular world and outlook of the cholo lifestyle, and especially what it means for women. Each of the female family members, the mother, the grandmother, and the two sisters, reflect at length on their place in the world of the cholo. The mother Clemencia and the sister Ifigenia each have a vision for a different life, but the challenges they face are clear to the audience. The production value of the play is top-notch, with costumes and set design worthy of a larger theater. The program also includes a little "Spanglish to English Dictionary" for those members of the audience who may not feel completely up to speed. Blush's production company Project Twenty12 partnered with Homeboy Industries to offer an apprenticeship for clients to learn set construction skills. Fifteen percent of ticket proceeds will go to the non-profit agency. "Electricidad" will run for two more weekends, through March 17, with playwright Luis Alfaro appearing for a panel discussion on March 10. Tickets are $15.00 for general admission, $12.00 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com, or you can reserve tickets via email at tickets.electricidad@gmail.com. Parking is free. Carmen Zapata Theater, 421 North Avenue 19, Los Angeles 90031

********** Published: March 08, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 47