Studio Theatre was transformed into a nearly post-apocalyptic inner city last weekend for the show Marisol, directed by post-baccalaureate Adam McDowell. The principle characters performed their scenes using sparse props such as four homeless people huddled against a solid backdrop spray-painted with eerie messages and a recording of ambient city sounds.
The diverse cast ranged in experience from seasoned actors to those who have had little experience in Knox College theatre. Considering the serious nature of the show, I think the cast did a good job of executing their lines and scenes throughout the production. However, I think the script and subject matter had potential that was not always utilized by the cast.
In the show, Marisol, played by sophomore Angie Ross, is “killed” on a street corner, only to wake in her bed, afraid of commotion outside her door. Eventually, her guardian angel, played by freshman Shayna Hargraves, comes down from the rafters to tell Marisol that she has been protecting her, but is going to leave in order to pursue war against a vengeful God. Marisol refuses to join the angel by praying to God, and is doomed from that moment on.
Throughout the course of the show, characters mention that they had thought Marisol was dead or a ghost, but she insists that she is real. The man who killed her, played by freshman Isaac Miller, comes back as several different characters, all intrigued by Marisol. She rejects them all as thoroughly as safely possible.
By the end of the show, Marisol is transformed into a homeless person on the streets, bothering a rich woman played by freshman Nellie Ognacevic, and being attacked by a Nazi and former friend, played by junior Devan Cameron. The angel is transformed into a warring being and the characters survive the apocalypse to start anew.
This show deals with racial inequalities and injustices committed against minorities every day in big cities. It suggests that the only way to cure such bigotry is to destroy the current structure and start again. As I said before, this was a difficult subject matter and a lot to memorize, and for that I commend the cast.
However, I would have liked to see the homeless people used more often to accent what the principle characters were doing. They functioned well to echo Marisol’s prayers, haunt Marisol from outside her bedroom, and crowd the cast at the end, but I think they could have done more. Often, they were just lying on stage, neither adding nor detracting from what was going on.
Rosa did an excellent job of quickly transitioning to different attitudes and portraying the fear and confusion going on around her. However, her tension was always at the top level, which made the especially dramatic moments of realization from her character seem on par with the rest of the show when they should have been heightened.
Miller did an excellent job portraying his many characters, showing his wide range of talent. He was able to portray several characters who all had their different quirks, each one unique. His characters really came to life for me.
Additionally, I think Cameron and Ognacevic both inhabited their characters well and provided the necessary drama to keep the show interesting for the audience.
All in all, I congratulate McDowell and the cast on a wonderful show that asks tough questions which may not have clear answers.