Tuesday November 21st 2017

“Marisol”

Somewhat Recommended ** Jose Rivera is a solid playwright. In fact, I have enjoyed many of his plays, and Juan Casteneda has done some great work at his Urban Theatre Company in the heart of “Little Puerto Rico” (Division Street/Wicker Park).  Based on the director and the author ,I was excited to go to “Marisol”, now on stage at The Raven Theatre on the North Side. Produced by Promethean Theatre Ensemble as the first play in their twelfth season ( hard to believe a dozen year already), I have the feeling that there was some confusion in putting the puzzle pieces together on this one. I need to explain this!

The story is about a young copy editor in New York, Marisol  (Amana Lopez * does as admirable job in attempting to make “gold out of straw”, but she really needs Rumpelstiltskin, in the worst way, to do so) and her life. While she makes a nice living, she has opted to reside in the “hood” where she grew up. At the start of the play, she narrowly escapes a mugger on the subway as she heads to the Bronx. Later that night, after yelling at her loud neighbors, she is visited in her flat by  her guardian angel (Jazzma Pryor) who informs her that she can no longer protect her. It seems there is a revolution in place against God, who is old and senile and dying. It seems that people are taking to the streets over this situation!

I must stop here and tell you that I became a little lost during all that took place in this scene. First of all, as good as Ms Lopez is in the title role, she tends to talk a little faster and softer than she should, thus being hard to understand and the way this storyline goes, we cannot afford to miss any of the nuances of Rivera.Castaneda is used to a smaller venue, but had he sat in the last row, he would have seen what I am talking about. Also, the set (Jeremiah Barr) covers the sliminess of the streets of New York and the subway system well, but when we are in Marisol’s home, it seems that someone who has a decent income would live a bit nicer. Perhaps, a “flat” indicating her apartment and later one for her office would help the audience in focusing on what is taking place on the stage over trying to figure out why there is graffiti in these places.

Marisol’s co-worker, June ( Megan DeLay, who also plays another role) invites Marisol to move in with her after a news headline indicates that she had been killed the night before. I said “confusing” didn’t I? She has a brother, Lenny ( Mike Cherry, who plays almost every male role) who is a bit “slow” and more confusion begins to rear its ugly head. He wants Marisol, she runs away, June disappears (did Lenny kill her?), Lenny gets pregnant  by Marisol, and there is a lady in the fur coat (Jamie Bragg) who I am still trying to understand.

Castaneda’s notes indicate that every audience member will see something different. In fact, if you were to ask each and every audience member what “Marisol” is all about?, the answers would be everywhere. Is it about politics? race relations? gender equality? environment? Inner city violence? Economics? Poverty? Religion? World Issues?- who knows? His mission, and that of the cast is to attempt to make Rivera’s words answer some of these questions. Well, at least some!

It is possible that all of these parts equal a whole- the world becoming one, not parts. Not Hispanics ! Not African-Americans! Not Catholics! Not Jews! Not Asians! Not Moslems! How about Humans! That is what we are and living together and working with each other is what I think this story is truly about. But as our director said, no two people will see this play exactly alike. I would have liked a bit of music to end scenes and to make a statement. The lighting (Liz Cooper) worked and the costumes, if one could call them such (Uriel Gomez) due to the extreme limits were decent. The fight or violence choreography by Brenden Hutt worked. There is strobe lighting, stimulated sexual and physical violence and some gunshots used, so be prepared.

“Marisol” will continue at The Raven Theatre West stage ( the smaller of the two) , 6157 N. Clark Street (at Granville) thru November 26th with performances as follows:

Thursdays  8 p.m.  NO SHOW on Turkey Day 11/23

Fridays  8 p.m.

Saturdays  8 p.m.

Sundays  3:30 p.m.

 

Tickets are $25, general/open and $20 for  seniors and $15 for students

Running time for the two acts is 1 hour and 55 minutes including the intermission.

to order tickets boxoffice@prometheantheatre.org

There is a parking lot at the Raven and street parking ( some metered, some not ) is plentiful

To see what others are saying, please visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Marisol”

 

  • Lopez is the understudy, which should have been announced prior to the performance. I have no idea as to the number of times se may have performed this role, but there was no way that she looked uncomfortable on the stage. AI said, earlier, . The script is the problem!
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