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Ion Theatre Reimagines A Classic Play And Sets It In San Diego

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A play from the 19th century, with subject matter deeply enmeshed in the European class system, might not seem an obvious choice for a reworking by a San Diego theater company. But a world premiere production inspired by August Strindberg's iconic "Miss Julie" — called "Julia" at Hillcrest's Ion Theatre — moves the classic drama from Sweden to 1970s San Diego.

Written by Ion Theatre’s founding executive artistic director, Claudio Raygoza, "Julia" reimagines the classic "Miss Julie" protagonist as a worldly woman married to a Mexican presidential hopeful. Julia, played by company member Catalina Maynard, is torn between her husband’s political aspirations and the young, ambitious chauffeur, Jacob (played by Jorge Rodriguez), hired to watch over her. A political thriller/love story mired in power struggles of gender and class, "Julia" is Ion's fifth world premiere production.

KPBS Midday Edition speaks with Claudio Raygoza, writer and director of "Julia" and executive artistic director of Ion Theatre, and two of the play's cast members, Catalina Maynard and Jorge Rodriguez, about how this radical re-imagining was developed.

"Julia" begins previews September 29 and opens October 6. It runs through October 27 at Ion Theatre in Hillcrest.

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