Following up on the success of last year’s staged reading of Nambi E. Kelly’s Xtigone, Prof. Angeliki Tzanetou has continued a collaboration between the Classics Department, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and the Champaign Central High School, which will culminate with the production of a staged reading of Luis Alfaro's Electricidad on Friday, March 31, at 6:30 p.m. at Central High School in Champaign, by students from local high schools and the University of Illinois, under the direction of Paul O'Mahony, founder of the acclaimed Out of Chaos Theatre in London (UK). This project continues the exploration of the themes of violence, race, citizenship, and trauma through a series of staged readings and workshops of plays of modern playwrights whose work on trauma addresses the experiences of African American, Chicano, migrant and refugee communities.
Luis Alfaro’s Electricidad transports the story of Sophocles’ Electra to an East L.A. barrio, a Chicano neighborhood, and focuses on the modern-day tragedy that unfolds after Electricidad’s mother kills her father. In this revenge tragedy, Electricidad is bent on exacting vengeance and in the end persuades her brother, Orestes, after he returns from Las Vegas to kill their mother. Alfaro’s young protagonists perpetuate the cycle of violence in their family; their coming-of age stories are those of young cholos (“gang members”). Alfaro’s play situates the root causes of violence in Chicano communities beyond the barrio. Electricidad explores the continuing cycle of violence, and paths to redemption. Alfaro’s work challenges audiences to understand trauma as a call for collective action.
This year’s performance will offer a setting for students and their audiences to come together and discuss the impact of violence and trauma in our local communities. Last year’s experiment, the staged reading of Nambi E. Kelley’s Xtigone, made clear that students are eager for these opportunities and are empowered by them.
Dramaturg: Angeliki Tzanetou
Production and Co-ordination: Angeliki Tzanetou (Classics Department); Sam Smith (Director of Civic Engagement and Social Practice, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts).