In the reprised play Marisol, written by Jose Rivera. It’s Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz meets AMC’s The Walking Dead. Marisol, now playing at the Luna Stage theater in West Orange, NJ. and directed by Niegal Smith, brings to light of the story of a beautiful and single latin woman living in the Bronx who finds herself fighting for her sanity and her life as the Angels and God himself battle an apocalyptic war amongst the stars. With no guardian angel to protect her, Marisol struggles to retain her humanity as she now lives in a city filled with death squads, Nazis burning renegades killing the abandoned and living with anguish and misery in a world without the love of God.
The story open as young latin woman named Marisol Perez, played by Cynthia Fernandez, is almost attacked in the subway. Escaping death, comes home to her one bedroom apartment in the Bronx. Her guardian angel, played by Nehassaiu deGannes, warns Marisol, in a dream, of a raging war between the Angels and God. She encourages Marisol to be strong and hope the angels can overthrow a tired and a diseased God. The next day, Marisol meets coworker June, played by Emma O’Donnell. She is relieved to see her and explains someone last night fitting her profile and description was killed in the subway. Deciding to leave their jobs for safety, they come to June’s apartment. Marisol meets June’s mentally handicapped brother Lenny, played by Christopher Kelly, who is obsessed with Marisol. Agreeing to become roommates, Marisol returns home to pack until Lenny arrives and confesses his love. Narrowly escaping Lenny’s grasp, Marisol begins to look for June but only finds the annihilation of her beloved Metropolitan city. As the smell of burning carcasses and smoke fills the air, she desperately searches for June, but will this biblical turmoil be too much to take? Will Marisol survive long enough to see all this horror disappear? Can she live in a world without God?
For such a little theater, was amazed on how the sets made one dwell in a big city. My compliments to set designer Arnulfo Maldonado,, for Light, Jorge Arroyo, for Sound, Erik T. Lawson and for Costume Deborah Caney. Found no flaws in the stage managing governed by Aubriana Sabino. As far as the cast, Cynthia Fernandez provided a broad array of emotions to the character. Cynthia’s emotions of rage, confusion and compassion bounced effortlessly in her performance on stage. Chris Kelly brought both waves of mindless anarchy and human emotions. Nehahassalu deGrannes and Emma O’Donnell gave bolts of Bible fantasies of what Armageddon might feel like and the trial and pain of what one goes through with a mentally challenged sibling. Overall I find this revival of Marisol to be very edgy and daring to rip the salvation we were all promised to have in death. Marisol offers audiences a unique perspective to an apocalyptic end of humanity and the acting certainly draws one to the stage and does not let go. Come and see.
Artistic Director for Luna Stage theater, Cheryl Katz quoted, “ In some way this makes sense, because up until now, I don’t think the time has been quite ripe. But now, with where we find ourselves spiritually, economically, and globally, the play feels so relevant again. I really think Rivera was prescient when he wrote this play. The future he depicts is our present.”
Marisol is presently being played at the Luna Stage theater in West Orange, NJ. until May 11th.
That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Reporting for Examiner.com, I am Brian A. Madrid.
For more information regarding this review, click on the highlighted tags throughout the article. Please feel free to read other articles written by me and feel free to share with others. Thanks for reading and sharing. Photos credit: Steve Lawlor