Oedipus El Rey


New Work
Writers: Luis Alfaro


Show Information

Based on the Play/Book/Film
Oedipus Rex
Number of Acts
First Produced
Contemporary, Simple/No Set
Time & Place
Los Angeles, California, Present day
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Diverse Cast, Ensemble Cast, Mostly Male Cast, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Star Vehicle Male
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes young adult, adult, mature adult, elderly characters


Is a man master of his own destiny or merely a puppet of Fate, who pulls the strings while acting out stories written long before? This was the question asked thousands of years ago in Sophocles’ classic tragedy Oedipus Rex, and which has been masterfully recrafted by Luis Alfaro in Oedipus El Rey. The story is transferred from ancient Greece to downtown Los Angeles, the king of Thebes transformed into the top gangster in the barrio, and the masked chorus changed into prison inmates. At California State Prison, the prisoners come together to tell the story of Oedipus, a fellow inmate who tried to change his destiny. Before his birth, it was prophesied that Oedipus would someday kill his father, the violent gangster king Laius. Laius ordered his friend, Tiresias, to kill the infant after his wife, Jocasta, had given birth. Unable to do the heinous act, Tiresias instead raised Oedipus as his own, even from within the prison walls. Oedipus, who is ignorant of his true origins, is released from prison, cocky with youth and driven to create his own destiny. But is any man capable of outwitting his destiny, especially those born into communities where the odds are already against them? “He pulls the strings so tight, this God,” Jocasta laments, “how can we move when we’re trapped?”

Lead Characters

Oedipus El Rey guide sections