In an exclusive interview  
With Iride Aparicio


San José, CA -  After watching him in films and television, those of us in the Bay Area will have the opportunity to see Philadelphia, PA, born actor ESTEBAN CARMONA, in person, playing the lead role of OEDIPUS, but not the SOPHOCLES's Classical Greek tragedy "Oedipus Rex" (which premiered in Athens in 429 BC.) but in LUIS ALFARO's play  OEDIPUS,  El REY, at the MAGIC THEATRE in San Francisco, (Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd. Building D 3rd Floor).  from June 7 through June 23.

Screen shot of actor ESTEBAN CARMONA  (Back)
Screen shot of actor ESTEBAN CARMONA  (Front)     Photo courtesy: Carmona

In a phone interview, CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL asks ESTEBAN CARMONA what attracted him to the theatre.

E.C. "It is funny you asked, because acting kind of fell into my lap.  Originally, I wanted to be a dancer and a singer but, when I was in High School there was an Academy of  Performing Arts audition, and I went to the audition. There was some kind of mixed up during the auditions, and I, instead of going to the dance office audition, ended up in the acting audition room. I did not realize it had happened until the person in line, in front of me, said from the stage:  "I always wanted to be an actor."  I asked the instructor, "Is this  the acting audition?" and when she told me "yes." I said to myself, that's fine, since I am here, let's do it. Since I did not have any material prepared, (The auditioned is required to read and interpret a  play's scene.) I decided to do an improvisation and, when I was standing on that stage, something inside me "clicked." I felt something that I had never felt before. I fell in love with acting right there and I have been in love with acting ever since."

C.W.B. What happened after that?

E.C. " They accepted me in the acting department so, I continued to do acting in High School and I landed my first professional job in a documentary.

C.W.B. Before you were accepted in Acting School,  did you have any familiarity with plays?

E.C. "Not all all. Everything I learned about theater, I learned in High School.

After graduating from High School, however, CARMONA continued his  studies.   First, he enrolled in MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY, in MONTCLAIR N.J.  and got a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts (BFA in Acting). Then, to improve his acting, he studied the Meisner Technique. Developed by SANFORD MEISNER, The technique encourages the  actor to behave instinctively to his surroundings.  He also enrolled in the  STANISLAVSKI Method, considered by many the best acting method for actors because it suggests that they learn their acting by imitating nature, on the stage. He took courses in Practical Aesthetics,   Ballet, and  movements of the SUZUKI theatre and dance. To improve his acting in film and TV and in Classical plays, he enrolled in Stage Combat using Swords, Rapiers and hand combat. He also learned diction, singing, and how to play Cajon (a wooden box that is played with the palm of of your hands, like a bongo) Piano and guitar.

C.W.B. As a professional actor,  how do you describe and actor?

E.C. "An actor, to me, is someone who has the ability to take a step back and observe  humanity, for what it is with all of its quirks and all its pros and cons, while having empathy for what happens beneath the surface."

C.W.B.  Since the Oedipus that you are portraying in 'OEDIPUS, El REY, is not   SOPHOCLES's Oedipus, King, of the Greek drama. Could you describe  the original Oedipus to our readers?

E.C. "OEDIPUS, KING,"  is the story of a man, who becomes king, and in the process receives the prophecy that he is going to carry out two things that are taboo and horrifying events. He tries to defy (his destiny) by defying the gods (the Greek gods  had "programmed" him to do horrible deeds) but  (it is) when trying to defy his destiny, that he fulfills the prophesy, without him knowing it. At the end, when he finds out, he blames his pride and ego as the cause of his own demise."  

Screen Shot, Carmona in character
Screen Shot, Carmona in character           Photo Courtesy: Carmona

C.W.B Is the OEDIPUS you are portraying in "OEDIPUS, El Rey" similar to the original?

E.C. "Yes, LUIS ALFARO's  story, is  very similar to the Greek tragedy. It is the same in the fact that OEDIPUS is trying to defy the gods and trying to control his own destiny. The difference, is that the OEDIPUS, in OEDIPUS el REY, (which has been transposed to present time and set in South Central Los Angeles) has been in Folsom prison all his life, and when he is released from Prison, he learns the prophesy. At the end, living out of prison, he tries again to control his own destiny."

C.W.B. From the point of view of an actor, what is the most challenging thing in playing this particular role?

E.C. "It has to be mixing, or rather incorporating OEDIPUS vulnerability and his complete honesty with his pride and his ego. OEDIPUS is such a layered character and so complex that (as an actor) you cannot tackled it from one angle only. There are so many other things that come into play.

C.W.B. Who is your character, in the play?
E.C. "A regular Latino man who has no option to be different because he spent his life in prison.

C.W.B. Is the play in Spanish?

E.C. "No. There are Spanish phrases, but most of the play is in English.

C.W.B. What could you tell people that is unique about this play?

E.C. "This play is the kind of theatre that makes people fall in love with theatre. The type of theatre that keeps you at the end of your seat. The kind of theatre that makes you go home  not being able to think about anything else. The theatre that makes you re-evaluate some of the decisions that you make in your life about the things you hold important.'"

MAGIC THEATRE is located in Fort Mason, 2Marina Blvd. Building D, 3rd floor, San Francisco, Cal 94123. You may order tickets online at or by calling (405) 441-8822. The play will play on Tuesday at 7P.M., Wednesday and Saturday at 8PM and Sunday at 2:30 until June 23rd.