Review "MARISOL": Apocalyptic with a Sense of Humor

Audio Podcast at ITUNES 
Narrated by Joshua Volkers

 

MARISOL
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
Credit card users are tortured for maxing out.  Commuters are beaten with golf clubs.  And perhaps worst of all, coffee is extinct.  Welcome to the Bronx in the Millennium! The Artistic Home presents MARISOL.  Set in the present day, the world has become a muddle of insanity, violence, and homelessness.  Graffiti and trash cover everything.  Food is a precious resource.  People are killing and maiming for survival.  What is going on?  The comfortable answer is 'the recession.'  The more disturbing theory: God is senile and dying.  Marisol is attacked on the subway.  The assault is thwarted by her guardian angel's influence.  When the angel tells Marisol she quits, all hell breaks loose.     Things were bad before but with angels raging a war, the future looks ominous. MARISOL is apocalyptic with a sense of humor.
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This play is science fiction but it's not!  Playwright Jose Rivera twists current conditions into a surreality spiraling out-of-control.  The characters are identifiable; mooching unemployed brother, snobby society dame, and raging ice cream eater.  Rivera levels their playing field. Everyone re-spawns from nothing.  The bizarre storyline unfolds with lunatic rants.  Director John Mossman creates a weird tension that adds to the comedy and the drama.  Some of the laughter elicited is definitely nervous laughter in that blurry line between deadly funny and dead.  In the lead, Marta Evans (Marisol) gives a gripping performance.  Evans transforms from scared girl to savior-warrior-type with gritty vulnerability.  Hovering overhead, Leslie Ann Sheppard (Angel) divinely sheds her wings and picks up an Uzi.  Aided by designer Garvin Jellison's illumination, Sheppard drops her natural cherubic look for an eery angel-gone-wild persona.   Kristin Collins (June) and Brandon Thompson (Lenny) have a sister-brother act that is hilariously dysfunctional.  On the vibrant street-art set designed by Aaron Menninga,  the entire ensemble survives the celestial Viet Nam with unique and colorful flourish. 

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MARISOL is a thought-provoking fantasy.  Rivera's story is an imaginative explanation of life tragedies.  I like to believe we all get a guardian angel.  And that we walk through dicey situations protected by divine intervention.  Golf makes sense to me knowing the equipment has a higher purpose.  In the last couple of months, I have had two end-of-the-world dreams.  They startled me awake! (And my nightmares NEVER even considered surviving without coffee.)  Where do you go when it's the end for most and the new beginning for some? When man has the capacity and arrogance to blow up the world, the unthinkable has to be thought.  MARISOL provides some insight into the doomsday scenario.  It's bittersweet!     

Running Time:  Two hours includes an intermission
At 3914 N. Clark
Written by Jose Rivera
Directed by John Mossman
Thursdays at 7:30
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 5pm 
Thru July 31st 
Production photography courtesy of Tim Knight

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