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Greek / Roman

Greek and Roman plays often intersect with Indigenous and Colonial myth when adapted for Latinidad. A figure such as Medea is often intertwined with La Llorona and La Malinche. In recent years, both Medea and Antigone have been adapted to stories of immigration and exile. Numerous other Greek and Roman plays, as well as Homerian epic, have been adapted for Latinidad.

Scroll down or press the following links for productions and plays based on Medea, Antigone, The Odyssey, and Other Greek and Roman playwrights.

Medea

The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea
by Cherrie Moraga

The play is set twenty years in the future (to our current decade) and reimagines Medea as a queer curandera. With mostly female characters, there is also a chorus of four Indigenous women warriors. It was commissioned by and had its first reading at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 1995, directed by Tony Kelly. It had its first production in 2000 at The Magic Theater in San Francisco as part of their Plays at the Border Festival, and it was directed by Moraga.

Morton’s play is inspired by Euripides’ Medea and includes Indigenous mythic figures such as La Llorona and La Malinche, as well as historical political figures such as Hernán Cortés. Morton first wrote the play for his dissertation in 1984, and it had its world premiere in 1997 at the Arizona Theatre Company in Phoenix and was directed by Abel Lopez.

La Maliniche
by Carlos Morton

Wreckage
by Caridad Svich

Inspired by Medea, here the action transposes to a contemporary setting and involves displaced persons and familial roles in flux. Svich’s play had its world premiere at Crowded Fire Theatre in San Francisco in 2009, directed by Erin Gilley.

Images courtesy of Crowded Fire Theater from the world premiere in 2009, directed by Erin Gilley.

The Medéa Complex
by Patricia Crespin

Albuquerque playwright Patricia Crespin adapted the Medea myth to the present day with Medea as an incarcerated Chicana. She is interviewed by a Latino reporter about her crimes when she is on Death Row. It was first performed in 2011 at Teatro Paraguas in Albuquerque, New Mexico, directed by Valli Rivera.

Bruja
by Luis Alfaro

Alfaro’s first adaptation of the Medea myth set in the contemporary period with Medea as undocumented focused on Medea as sorceress. It premiered in 2012 at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, directed by Loretta Greco.

Mojada
by Luis Alfaro

Alfaro’s revision of the Medea myth focused on Medea as immigrant. It premiered at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago in 2013 and was directed by Chay Yew. It has had numerous stagings, and Alfaro tailors the setting to the locale, as he does with several of his other plays.

All production photos by Jenny Graham and courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, from their 2017 co-production with Portland Center Stage, directed by Juliette Carrillo.
Posters designed by Mikey Mann and courtesy of Portland Center Stage.

MARIA: A Telenovela for the Stage
by Stephen Richter

Similar to Richter’s other adaptations and plays inspired by the classics, this play integrates various forms of media. Here the telenovela genre and contemporary setting take up current issues. It was staged and filmed at UC Santa Cruz’s Experimental Theater in 2018, directed by Quest Zeidler.

Ephemera courtesy of Stephen Richter from the 2018 production at UC Santa Cruz, directed by Quest Zeidler
latinx theatrical adaptation, latinx plays, shakespearean productions and adaptations, latinx Shakespeares, productions and adaptations of Shakespeare's,

Medea Re-Versed
by Luis Quintero

Quintero's adaptation of Euripides' tragedy is written in battle rap verse and involves audience participation to challenge norms of musical theatre, and theatre more broadly. It had its first reading at Red Bull Theater in New York (dir. Nathan Winkelstein) in 2023.

Antigone

La Pasión Según Antiona Pérez
by Luis Rafael Sanchez

Puerto Rican playwright and novelist, Luis Rafael Sánchez, reset the action in the fictious Latin American Republic of Molina. The play has Brechtian influences and was first published in 1968. It is written entirely in Spanish.

This play includes characters Digital Antigone, Historical Antigone, Archivist, and Narration, in a contemporary museum setting. This play was one of the five parts of the 2004 Antigone Project at The Women’s Project (WP Theater) in New York, and it was directed by Annie Dorsen.

Antigone Arkhe
by Caridad Svich

Lucinda Caval
by Caridad Svich

Sivch’s play involves suspense and surveillance and a woman who is searching for her brother. It had a staged reading as part of the Women Playwrights Festival, co-sponsored by Hedgebrook and Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2007.

Woman on Fire
by Marisela Treviño Orta

Orta’s play is set in 2002 and involves a Mexican-American woman, her white border patrol husband, and the ghost of an immigrant woman. It had its first reading at Austin Script Works and Teatro Vivo in 2007 and its first production in 2016 as a co-production of Camino Real Productions and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, directed by Valli Marie Rivera.

All images and ephemera courtesy of
Those Women Productions
from their 2018 production, directed by Elizabeth Vega

Casas' adaptation of Antigone premiered at Rising Youth Theatre in Phoenix, AZ, in 2015. The show was performed by members of Cyphers, The Center for Urban Arts youth group. It was directed by Xanthia Walker.

antigona: a chicana hip hop Antigone
by José Casas

La Fuerza de Antigona
by Tlaloc Rivas

Rivas sets the action in the imminent future to address issues of the border, exile, immigration, and refugees. The play is bilingual and written for an entirely non-male cast. It was written, devised, and directed by Rivas at DePaul University in 2018, and it had its premiere at SUNY New Paltz in 2021, co-directed by Matthieu Chapman and Jenna Sargent.

All images and ephemera courtesy of SUNY New Paltz Department of Theatre, from their 2021 production directed by Matthieu Chapman and Jenna Sargent. Photography by Ashlie Morrison.

Antigone at the Border
by Marc David Pinate

Pinate interviewed border patrol and undocumented peoples to develop his play about the border. He set the action in a fictious city of Thebes, Arizona, with Antigone as a DACA recipient. It had its first reading in 2020 at the University of Arizona, and it was developed with Borderlands Theatre and Su Teatro and had its premiere at Milagro in Portland in 2022, directed by Reina Solunaya.

AntigonX
by Shey ‘Rí Acu’ Rivera Ríos

AntigonX incorporates queer, Latinx, and technological dramaturgies into the story that takes place on Abundancia, a fictional Puerto Rico. The play had its premiere at Wilbury Theatre Group in Providence in 2022, directed by Jackie Davis.

All images and ephemera courtesy of Shey 'Ri Acu' Rivera Ríos from the 2022 production by Wilbury Theatre Group, directed by Jackie Davis. Photography by Erin X. Smithers.

Antigona 3.0
by Jonathan Heras, Milta Ortiz, Marc David Pinate, and
Jesus Valles

Music by: Gertie Lopez

The play is set in an "alternate universe, where the actors play a heightened characterization of themselves. . . [and] they've received the biggest funding of their career." The play had its first reading in 2023 at Borderlands Theater in Tuscon.

The Odyssey

ANON(ymous)
by Naomi Iizuka

Iizuka’s play was commissioned by and first staged at Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis in 2006, directed by Peter C. Brosius. Written for young audiences, it centers on a teenager named Anon who begins on a journey. There is a Chorus of Refugees that tell their stories.

All images from the 2014 production at Falcon's Eye Theatre, directed by David Harris 
Photography byAdrienne Sher
Courtesy of Falcon's Eye Theatre

The Orphan Sea
by Caridad Svich

Fusing poetry, dance, song, and various digital media, Svich’s play includes three choruses. It was commissioned by and first performed at the University of Missouri in 2014, directed by Kevin Brown.

All images from the 2016 production at Skidmore College, directed by Eunice S. Ferreira
Photography by Sue Kessler
Courtesy of Skidmore College Theater

Our Own Odyssey
by Chris Rivera

Rivera’s Our Own Odyssey had a reading with Turn To Flesh productions in New York in 2018 and was staged at the Fuerza Festival that same year. It is set in a contemporary fantastical New York and centers on a queer Latinx youth.

All images and ephemera from the 2018 production at the Fuerza Festival in New York, directed by Chris Rivera and Bryana Kearney
Courtesy of Chris Rivera

This adaptation centers on a female characters named Odyssey who has lost her mother and then travels overseas to Mexico to learn about her future. It was first presented by El Centauro Mecánico in New York in 2023 as a part of Day of the Dead festivities.

Odyssey and the Flowers in the Sun
by Miguel Loyola

Other

Polaroid Stories
by Naomi Iizuka

Iizuka’s 1997 play is inspired by Eurydice and Orpheus from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Iizuka interviewed young people in Minneapolis to develop the play, and her characters tell stories of urban life and dispossession, poetically. It premiered in 1997 as part of the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, directed by Jon Jory.

All ephemera from the 2017 production at UC Berkeley, directed by Margot Hall
Photography by Alessandra Mello
Courtesy of UC Berkeley's Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Svich’s 2003 play is inspired by the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. It had a reading of Theatre of Note in Los Angeles in 2003 and was first produced by East Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) in Sydney, Australia, in 2009.

Steal Back Light From the Virtual
by Caridad Svich

Electricidad
by Luis Alfaro

Part of Alfaro’s Greek trilogy, his modernization of Electra takes place in Los Angeles “right now, baby.”  With a three-female chorus of Las Vecinas and a Chicanx-Cholo setting and dramaturgy, it is a play of twenty-nine short scenes. It had its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, directed by Henry Godinez.

Svich’s play set in an unidentified Latin American country includes the character of Achilles as a transgender rock star. It has many inspirations, most clearly Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis, as well as by works from Calderón, Racine, and Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera. It had its world premiere in 2004 at 7 Stages in Atlanta, directed by Melissa Foulger.

Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That was Once Her Heart (A rave fable)
by Caridad Svich

Liz Estrada in the City of Angels
by Evelina Fernandez

Link to full article

Fernandez adapts Aristophanes’ Lysistrata to a future Los Angeles amidst a war between the Latinians and Africans. The play premiered at The Getty Villa in Los Angeles in 2006, directed by José Luis Valenzuela.

Thrush
by Caridad Svich

Thrush is a play with poetic dialogue and a range of musical genres. It is inspired by The Trojan Women and involves the aftermath of war. It received earlier readings and had its world premiere at Salvage Vanguard Theatre in Austin in 2006, directed by Jenny Larson.

Svich takes her inspiration for this play from Euripides’ Ion. Written in poetic language, a couple suffers after the loss of their child, who speaks (offstage) as a ghostly presence. It had its world premiere in 2009 at Passage Theatre in Trenton, directed by Daniella Topol.

Instructions for Breathing
by Caridad Svich

latinx theatrical adaptation, latinx plays, shakespearean productions and adaptations, latinx Shakespeares, productions and adaptations of Shakespeare's,

Oedipus El Rey
by Luis Alfaro

The transposition of Oedipus to an urban Chicano neighborhood and the carceral system includes a Coro of four men and an emphasis on the tragic love story. It premiered at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco in 2010, directed by Loretta Greco.

Program from The Magic Theatre production in 2010, directed by Loretta Greco
Courtesy of Carla Della Gatta

The Tropic of X
by Caridad Svich

Svich’s play has echoes of Orpheus and Eurydice, set against a critique of late-stage capitalism and the struggles it places on personal relationships. It premiered in Germany (in German translation) at arthteatre in Cologne in 2007, directed by Marcy Arlin.

All images from the 2020 production and Canadian premiere by Imago Theatre, presented at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal, directed by Sophie Gee
Courtesy of Imago Theatre

SATYRICOÑO
by Migdalia Cruz

Migdalia Cruz’s 2015 inspired by Fellini’s 1969 film, Satyricon, and Petronius’ Satyricon from 69 A.D. The action takes place in the future in Rome, Old San Juan, and “The floating Capital City of the Ignited Dominions of the Amerikas.” It was workshopped at INTAR in New York in 2015, directed by Daniel Jáquez.

La Olla
by Evelina Fernandez

Link to full article

Fernandez’s adaptation of Plautus’ The Pot of Gold relocates the action to 1950s Los Angeles. It was staged by The Latino Theater Company in Los Angeles in 2015, directed by José Luis Valenzuela.

La Olla by Evelina Fernández

Sal Lopez in La Olla at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, 2016.

Photo by Grettel Cortes Photography

Courtesy of Evelina Fernández

Lysistrata Unbound
by Eduardo Machado

Machado’s re-envisioning of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata includes both a male and female chorus and immense physicality and choreography. It premiered at Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles in 2018, directed by John Farmanesh-Bocca.

Desi Moreno-Penson's loose adaptation of Euripides' The Bacchae centers on a Cuban family "on the verge of losing everything" and a Yoruban demigod. Concert readings were hosted by Dramatic Question Theatre at The Flea in New York in 2023, directed by KM Jones.

El Bacalao: The Catfish Man
by Desi Moreno-Penson

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