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The Connection

Designers use color to bring director’s vision to light in ‘Electricidad’

Electricidad+is+Luis+Alfaro%E2%80%99s+modern%2C+Chicano+adaptation+of+Sophocles%E2%80%99+Electra.+It+runs+through+Dec.+10+at+CRCs+Black+Box+theater.
Image courtesy of CRC’s Calendar and Events page
‘Electricidad’ is Luis Alfaro’s modern, Chicano adaptation of Sophocles’ ‘Electra’. It runs through Dec. 10 at CRC’s Black Box theater.

“Electricidad”, a modern Chicano adaptation of Sophocles’ classic Greek tragedy “Electra”, opened on Friday in the Cosumnes River College Black Box Theater.

The original interpretation was written by Luis Alfaro and directed by Ryan Perez Adame. It takes place in 1999 in East Los Angeles when Electricdad, a young Chicana, promises to avenge her father, the former leader of street gang the East Side Locos.

Adame said he wanted to showcase color and texture as an important part of the play. His designers spoke with the Connection about bringing Adame’s vision onto the CRC stage.

“In this play, we have Clemencia, the mother of Electricidad, who wears this blood red kind of suit,” said Costume Designer Mari Carson. “The idea that she wears that is because she is soaked in the blood of her husband who she may or may not murder.”

Carson, a freelance costume and sound designer, said that she and Adame agreed that they wanted the costumes to be colorful, compared to the Cholo and Chola aesthetic, where the color palette is a monochromatic black and white.

“We wanted it to be a little bit more colorful, so we tried to insert color where we could while sort of remaining true to the spirit of that (black and white),” Carson said. “It’s a huge part of the play.”

Lighting Designer Cary Babka, an AME professor who was also the sound and projection designer, took color into consideration and said a lot of the lighting revolves around how Electricidad feels throughout the play while mourning her father’s death.

“Capturing all of that in terms of the light and the colors would be like to bring color to their world,” Babka said.

When deciding the more realistic lighting of the LA setting, Babka said he used to live in LA himself which helped him choose how to represent the city in the play.

“My inspiration was remembering how weird nighttime is in LA, like the fact that you don’t really just have a normal kind of blue,” Babka said. “The sky turns like, weird green and orange because of the street lights.”

The vision for the set design was filled with color, including the murals flanking each side of the stage, according to Set Designer Tricia Tecson.

“I picked out some murals that were very prominent in East LA because it started off with the Chicano mural movements and it’s kind of inspired by that,” Tecson said.

Adame said that he’s been an admirer of playwright Luis Alfaro since he first saw “Electricidad” in 2014 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was blown away by it.

“Many of our students are Mexican American, Latinx in some way and we don’t get a lot of stories like this that feature us,” Adame said. “It’s really important to me to help our department pick plays that also reflect our students, our students’ stories and the community that we’re located in.”

“Electricidad” runs through Dec. 10. Purchase tickets here.

 

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