Cerritos College production of ‘Oedipus the King’ proved commanding

The+Cerritos+College+Theatre+Department+put+together+the+ancient+Greek+play%2C+%22Oedipus+the+Kind%2C%22+by+Sophocles+as+their+fall+semester+production.+Their+last+showing+was+on+Oct.+14.
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Cerritos College production of ‘Oedipus the King’ proved commanding

The Cerritos College Theatre Department put together the ancient Greek play,

The Cerritos College Theatre Department put together the ancient Greek play, "Oedipus the Kind," by Sophocles as their fall semester production. Their last showing was on Oct. 14.

TM Sarah Pirtle

The Cerritos College Theatre Department put together the ancient Greek play, "Oedipus the Kind," by Sophocles as their fall semester production. Their last showing was on Oct. 14.

TM Sarah Pirtle

TM Sarah Pirtle

The Cerritos College Theatre Department put together the ancient Greek play, "Oedipus the Kind," by Sophocles as their fall semester production. Their last showing was on Oct. 14.

Bianca Martinez, Editor-in-Chief

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The Cerritos College Theatre Department demonstrated that they can perform and produce the ancient Greek drama, “Oedipus the King” with minor hitches.

The play, written by ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, opened Oct. 5 and could be seen Oct. 6 and 11-14.

The production exhibited that the black box in the Burnight Center studio can easily be converted into an intimate historic setting, as two rows of seating flanked each side of stage layout and four rows of seating faced a sturdy structure modeled as an allusion to a royal palace in Thebes, Greece.

The chorus of Thebans, comprised of cast members Breana Alexander, Chloe Avila, Cory Bragg, Marybeth de Guzman, Fernando de la Cruz, Sofia Moreno, Karina Rodriguez, Angelo Santos and Capone Walker, opened the production with ominous chanting.

The Priest of Zeus and leader of the Thebans, Sinead Le, portrayed her role with the conviction of any showboat mystic: with theatrical vocal projection and body movements that sold her performance.

The chorus of Thebans appeared after every interaction between the main characters and were essentially a spectacle in their own right.

The ambient music, atmospheric lighting and in-sync chanting and motions, made it appear to the audience as though they were privy to an intimate ritual as the chorus did their choreography without any major mistakes and prayed to the gods for the despair plaguing Thebes to cease.

In tradition with ancient Greek plays, the entire cast wore masks remarkably similar to those originally donned by actors in the era in when “Oedipus the King” was first performed.

The costumes designed by Bradley Lock, were mostly compromised of regalia synonymous with ancient Greece: robes and togas.

The costuming for the chorus, messenger, servant and shepherd were pretty standard.

The costumes for King Oedipus, his wife and mother, Jocasta and his brother-in-law and uncle, Kreon were decadent in their use of richly colored gauzy fabric and metallic-colored masks, which bore more expression in comparison.

Erik Guijarro’s depiction of Oedipus was strong in regards to delivery and exhibiting proper use of emotion when the scene called for it, though he did stumble over his lines a couple of times.

Guijarro efficiently expressed Oedipus’s internal and external turmoil throughout the entirety of the play, legitimately.

Because of his performance, Guijarro successfully caused the audience to sit with attention when he appeared in the palace doorway with a mask bloodied at the eyes.

In the play, Oedipus stabs his eyes out after uncovering the fact that his wife is actually his mother and discovering her dead from suicide.

The servant, played by Christopher Amador, revealed the news of Jocasta’s death and Oedipus’s self-mutilation, neither the eye-gouging or suicide was physically acted in tradition to Greek tragedy, literally set the stage for Guijarro as he delivered his lines with strong, emotion-inducing projection in cadence with the background sound of drumming.

Angelica Montoya, who played Jocasta, did so with much gusto and conviction that her portrayal was believable.

In addition, the swaying of her flowy scarlet costume attached to her wrists, added hypnotizing movement to her character as Montoya tended to speak with her hands when delivering her lines.

Oedipus

The Cerritos College Theatre Department produced and enacted “Oedipus the King,” by Sophocles and provided an impressive play. Photo credit: Sarah Pirtle

The messenger, played by Manuel Delgado, proved he’s a true character actor at heart by adding quirks to his portrayal, such as speaking in such a specific hurried manner, one would envision of a person whose sole job is to rush around delivering messages to have.

Although majority of the actors aced their roles, there were a few misses that mustn’t slide by unaddressed.

The role of Teiresias, played by Susano Salceda, had to be the biggest miss of the production as he was overhyped in his introduction as the prophet servant of the Greek god, Apollo, and could simply not deliver.

Now, when one envisions a prophet and servant of Apollo, for the most part, they envision a bad-ass guy with a larger-than-life presence and a booming voice.

Instead, what the audience essentially received was a kiss and a promise, due to Salceda’s poor projection and odd-sounding voice, which he obviously chose for his character.

Salceda sounded and acted like a minor character featured in an episode of “The Simpsons” or “Futurama,” where the character tries in vain to sound ominous and omnipotent, but instead turns out to be some shrimpy guy in an oversized coat.

There were a couple of other actors who treaded on Salceda’s path of weak delivery and odd voice for a couple paces, but managed to gain momentum and deliver a believable and emotional performance.

The roles of Shepherd, played by Matthew Fernandez, and Kreon, portrayed by Carlos Holguin, almost fell down the Salceda rabbit hole had they not accumulated the right amount of force to deliver a strong performance to save their bacon.

When Holguin first appeared on stage, he delivered his lines haltingly and without appropriate emotion.

However, when Holguin appeared for a second time he commanded the audience with his passionate and fiery presence, so much so that he even caused some of the audience members to jump as they were startled when he barreled toward Oedipus after he was accused of killing the former king and Oedipus’s biological father, Laios.

Fernandez seemed to follow in Holguin’s footsteps, as he also delivered a weak depiction of a frail, old man about to deliver devastating news.

Fernandez, fortunately regained his footing from the slippery slope of bad acting, as he finally exhibited proper acting when Oedipus threatened to cut his throat if he continued to refuse to tell the truth about Oedipus’s origin.

Despite a few hiccups, the Cerritos College production of “Oedipus the King” invoked a few gasps due to the cast’s successful line delivery and acting.

(Editor’s note: Article was updated Oct. 18 at 2:00 p.m. to correct a spelling error. The name, Salcedo, was corrected to the proper spelling, Salceda.)

 

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