Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

12 May 2005

Electricidad

I knew when Linda said "Lisa thinks it's good," that I was in trouble.
"Lisa who?" I said, even though I knew exactly who she meant.
"Lisa has bad taste," I almost said, but thought better of it. For a moment, too, I thought of the other Lisas she could have meant and it reminded me that the director of the production I would be seeing was Lisa Peterson, someone I find as problematic as Lisa Wolpe (and Lisa Loomer, come to think of it.)

If you want to see a piece of theatre I found to be incredibly offensive, go see Luis Alfaro's Electricidad at the Mark Taper Forum. It is based on Sophocles' Electra, but I don't know why he bothered. He is unapologetic, infuriating in his racist attitude toward his characters, worse yet, they are characters he claims to love and revere. But they're all cartoons, and basing his comedy--for that is what Electricidad is, no matter the source material--on Greek archetypes is only an excuse to further racial sterotyping and prejudice. Perhaps the jokes are meant to be self-deprecating, but just because a Mexican wrote the jokes and Mexicans are delivering the jokes doesn't mean I have to laugh at a joke at the Mexican community's expense. He even uses (as so many playwrights have been doing lately) the Spanish language as the punchline of many of the jokes. This show pissed me off. I hate to be a bad sport about the whole thing and I am sure that the East Los Angeles community can handle a little gentle ribbing from one of their own, but I got all the jokes, and I speak Spanish well enough to understand everything that was said onstage... I just didn't think it was funny.

It was poorly directed, too, but I always seem to be ripping Lisa Petersen apart, and this show was so pointless I don't even feel like dissecting her work, which I thought missed Sophocles' point as well as Alfaro's.

Skip this one and go see Play Without Words or I Am My Own Wife.