Promethean Theatre Ensemble is presenting Marisol by José Rivera, directed by Juan Castañeda at Raven Theatre West Stage 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago, October 28 through November 26, 2017. This play is the opener for Promethean Theatre Ensemble’s twelfth season.
Director Juan Castañeda notes, “I’m a huge fan of Rivera’s work. I’ve directed or assistant directed six of his plays and I’m thrilled to be directing MARISOL in its 25th Anniversary year. The play reflects the anxiety of the time in which it was written, but it’s equally resonant for us today in these divisive times. I think Rivera is telling us that while we have to push back against oppression, we should seek to achieve unity with the “other side” and not simply try to achieve victory over those with whom we disagree. We also have to work on self-healing in this shattered world. Rivera’s magical realism helps me understand the world today better than a realistic ‘kitchen sink’ drama would.”
Marisol premiered at the Humana Festival of New Plays in 1992. It was produced in New York City off-Broadway by the New York Public Theatre the following year in a staging directed by Michael Greif (RENT, GREY GARDENS, WAR PAINT) that won the 1993 Obie award for playwriting. Rivera has since written some thirty plays, including REFERENCES TO SALVADOR DALI MAKE ME HOT and BOLEROS FOR THE DISENCHANTED.
Marisol Perez (Rosie Ramos) is a young New York City woman of Puerto Rican descent finds herself immersed in a battle led by angels to save the universe from a senile and ineffectual God. As a copy editor for a Manhattan publisher, she is a white-collar worker but chooses to live alone in the tough section of the Bronx where she grew up. The play opens with Marisol barely escaping a vicious attack on her subway trip back to the Bronx. Later that evening, Marisol’s guardian angel pays a visit to tell her she can no longer serve as Marisol’s protector because she has been called to join the revolution already in progress against an old and senile God who is dying and “taking the rest of the universe with him.” The angel warns Marisol that she will face many threats over the coming days and advises her to be prepared to defend herself. Soon, Marisol is caught up in the Armageddon being fought on the streets of New York City.
Rosie Ramos, playing Marisol is joined by Jazzma Pryor as the Angel, haunting and powerful, Promethean artistic associate Megan DeLay as June, convincing as Marisol’s co-worker and friend, Mike Cherry as Lenny, scary and funny, and Promethean Ensemble Member Jamie Bragg, as Woman in Furs, strange and mysterious. All of the acting was powerful but Rosie Ramos was outstanding.
Kudos to ensemble members Jeremiah Barr (scenic design), Uriel Gomez (costume design), John Kelly (lighting design), Sarah Espinoza (sound design), Arielle Valene (properties design), ensemble member Brendan Hutt (violence design), Hazel Marie Flowers-McCabe stage manager and Danielle Malenock assistant director. The violence design was very significant. My companion noted that driving through the Bronx at about the time this pay was written, it felt like driving through a war zone. The set captured this well.
Jose Rivera (playwright) is the Obie Award winning author of MARISOL, CLOUD TECTONICS, REFERENCES TO SALVADOR DALI MAKE ME HOT, and BOLEROS FOR THE DISENCHANTED, among many others. His screenplay for THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. More recently, he wrote the screenplays for LETTERS TO JULIET, ON THE ROAD and THE 33.
Promethean’s MARISOL is being performed on Raven Theatre’s intimate West Stage. Be aware that there is violence, gun shots, lightening and more. It is a very powerful play that deals with so much; religion, politics, race relations, the environment, gender equality, inner city violence, poverty and more. The play left me with much to think about and talk about and is recommended.
Regular run October 28 through November 26, 2017
No show on Thanksgiving
Tickets: General $25.00, Seniors (65+) $20.00, Students/Children $15.00. Tickets available at tinyurl.com/marisolpte website
For box office inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3:30 pm and Monday, October 30 at 8 pm
Parking: There is a small lot and street parking is generally available, metered and non-metered with free parking on Sundays.
Photos: Tom McGrath, TCMcG photography