Marisol | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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MARISOL, Equity Library Theatre Chicago, at Chicago Dramatists Workshop.

With a guardian angel who wears a leather jacket, sneakers, and bulletproof wings, it's no wonder that young Marisol Perez sleeps with a commando knife under her pillow, a bottle of Cuervo under her bed, and a polytheistic array of charms and talismans close at hand. But when her celestial friend departs to join the heavenly guerrillas bent on overthrowing an exhausted, senile God, Marisol finds herself alone and unprotected on a Lewis Carroll/Clive Barker odyssey through the apocalyptic ruins of New York City, a place where credit-card delinquents are tortured, desperately nurturant males give birth to parthenogenic babies, and the apples taste of salt.

Playwright Jose Rivera is fortunate to have Equity Library Theatre presenting the midwest premiere of his premillenium epic. Director Virginia Smith and her stellar cast keep this surreal narrative so clean and focused that even when it begins to unravel into a tangle of ambiguous agitprop and lyrical language (both characteristic of magic realism), the action remains connected and gruesomely plausible. Melanie Rey's Marisol cowers in fine female-under-fire form at the center of a grotesque world that includes such fugitives as Roxanne Fay's stomp-ass sylph, Paul Connell's brain-blasted waif, and David Lively's jovial human cinder.

Vivid, violent, shocking, and superbly crafted, ELT's production of Marisol promises to be one of this season's gems. Get out and see it--and if you can't, watch out for angels bearing Uzis.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/George Wilson.

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