CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 26, 1999
Humans are abandoned by guardian angels in University Theatres
production of 'Marisol'
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University Theatres Mainstage will
conclude its 1998-99 season with a production of Jose Rivera's
"Marsiol," winner of the 1993 Obie Award for Outstanding
Play, April 8-18 in the David Thayer Theatre of the University
of Iowa Theatre Building.
Performances will be at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday,
April 8-10 and Wednesday through Saturday, April 14-17. Matinees
will be performed at 3 p.m. Sundays, April 11 and 18.
"Marisol" is launched by the provocative premise:
What happens when a war in heaven forces guardian angels to abandon
the human race to its own resources?
In a magical realist adventure that has been described as
"part 'Paradise Lost' and part 'Mad Max'," Rivera's
play tells the funny and terrifying story of Marisol Perez, a
young Puerto Rican woman in the South Bronx whose guardian angel
has already saved her from "one plane crash, one collapsed
elevator, one massacre at the hands of a right-wing fanatic with
an Uzi, and 66,603 separate sexual assaults."
When the angels abandon the human race to revolt against a
senile God, Marisol must learn to survive on her own in a nightmarish
urban jungle as the millennium approaches. Like "Alice in
Wonderland" or Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz,"
she encounters a distorted, threatening and absurd world that
she must traverse to re-discover her identity.
As the Toronto Sun put it, "Abandoned by her angel, Marisol's
life quickly goes to hell in a handbasket -- one large enough
to accommodate all of New York itself, it seems, as our heroine
stumbles through a world where the moon has migrated, north has
become south and motherhood is macho. Is Marisol mad -- or is
it the world?"
Director Christine Young, a graduate student in the UI department
of theatre arts, says she chose "Marisol" on the verge
of the millennium because she wanted to direct a play that deals
with the relationship of humans with the cosmos. "It insists
that we question values and beliefs that we take for granted,"
she says. "As we enter a new millennium, it suggests that
we need to be more involved as individuals in the evolution of
"The structure of the play is mythic," she explains.
"It is a hero's journey, and Marisol is a reluctant hero,
whose life is disrupted and who must travel through an increasingly
bizarre landscape. By the end she must decide whether she is
going to reject her isolation and take responsibility for her
presence in the world."
Young says that "Marisol" is simultaneously frightening,
funny and poetic. "As a 'magical realist' play, it embraces
the real and the magical simultaneously, and treats them as if
they have equal bearing," she says. "We tend to dismiss
the magical in our culture, but in the play the fantastic is
"Marisol" premiered at the Humana Festival at the
Actors Theatre of Louisville in 1992. The La Jolla production
of"Marisol" received six Drama-Logue Awards, and the
Hartford Stage/Joseph Papp Public Theatre production received
a 1993 Obie Award for Outstanding Play.
Rivera's first play, "The House of Ramon Iglesia,"
premiered in 1983 and was broadcast on the public television
series "American Playhouse" in 1986. Subsequent plays
are "The Promise" and "Each Day Dies with Sleep,"
"Giants Have Us in Their Books," "Cloud Tectonics,"
"Maricela de la Luz Lights the World" and "The
Street of the Sun."
His television experience includes co-creating and producing
the critically acclaimed NBC series "Eerie, Indiana,"
the premiere episode for the Fox series "Goosebumps,"
and "P.O.W.E.R.: The Eddie Matos Story" for HBO's "Life
Rivera has been honored with grants and awards including a
1985 National Endowment for the Arts grant, a 1985 Rockefeller
Foundation grant, a 1993 Whiting Foundation Writers Award and
a Fulbright Arts Fellowship in playwriting.
Artistic contributors for the University Theatres production
of "Marisol" include choreographer Simone Ferro, scenic
designer Alison Ford, costume designer Tammy Laisnez, lighting
designer Bryon Winn, sound designer Oliver Nowak, fight choreographer
Ralph Hall and dramaturg Tom Gibbons.
"Marison" includes material of an adult nature.
Potential audience members who are concerned about whether the
show is appropriate for them should contact the theater department
at 319-335-2700 for additional information.
Tickets for "Marisol" are $15 ($7 for UI students,
senior citizens and youth), and are available in advance from
the Hancher Auditorium box office. Any remaining tickets for
each performance will be available one hour before curtain time
at the Theatre Building box office.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11
a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling
area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within
Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to
(319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or
American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their
university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary
services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered
by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped
parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation
and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people
with hearing impairment who use that technology.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr
on the World Wide Web. The theater department site is http://www.uiowa.edu/~theatre.