Revenge. Murder. Dissension. Familial dysfunction. The best recipe for a juicy and disturbing story.
Two weekends ago, on a cloudy Sunday afternoon, my friends and I decided to attend the UIC Theatre’s production of Electricidad; a Latinx take on Sophocles’ play Electra, set in the neighborhood of East Los Angeles.
Unfamiliar with the plot of “Electra”(besides the “Electra” complex? Shoutout to my man Carl Jung), I didn’t exactly know what to expect. Is this a jovial satire? A heart-wrenching tragedy? Does everyone die?
I was intrigued by the set. A chain-linked fence lines a patch of brown grass. Trash is littered throughout the grass. Electricidad lays next to body covered by sheets in the middle of the yard, and a few flowers and candles line the fence toward backstage. To the right of the stage is the framework of a small, one-story house. One can see into the living room, where Electricidad’s mother, Clemencia, sits smoking a cigarette.
Initially confused about the context of the story, I felt as though I was eavesdropping on family drama happening in the middle of my own neighborhood from the upstairs window of my bedroom throughout the whole play. I didn’t have the full picture, but from whispers on the street and glances at heated screaming matches between Electricidad and Clemencia, I felt their bitterness, pain and fiery rage.
“I saw that they were a part of the American story,” said director Marcela Muñoz. This is a story about the marginalized, and that is why she chose to direct this play. They are “Americans who live in limbo, who live in a borderland where they are not accepted by their ancestors’ home, nor in their current home.”
There is power in using art to give a profound voice to the unheard. This is the second play that I have seen at UIC, and I regret not taking the time to appreciate more. Last spring I watched florissant and canfield, a story about the protests in Ferguson for Michael Brown, and the issue of police brutality, and it convinced me to take a class on social justice this semester.
Productions at the theatre are only $5for UIC students. You simply must head out and see one the next time one comes around. Speaking of, the orchestra is playing at the theatre this Saturday, October 14th. Come and experience.
Abigail Floresca is a junior majoring in criminology, law and justice with a minor in professional writing. Writing is how she connects, processes, expresses and relates to the rest of the world. Increasingly aware of the power of storytelling in bringing about change and reform, Abigail earnestly seeks to find a way to incorporate a perfect blend of writing and social work within the criminal justice system — she dreams of bringing about a positive change, one story at a time. At UIC, she is involved in campus ministry; conducts research with the criminology, law and justice department; interns with the Chicago Justice Project, and loves exploring new places downtown.