Trinity Rep ends its season on a particularly high note with Marisol, José Rivera’s apocalyptic 1993 comedy about a Puerto Rican copy editor (Octavia Chavez-Richmond) navigating the violent streets of a blown-out pre-millennial New York. God is senile, the moon has gone missing, Marisol’s guardian angel (Mia Ellis) has abandoned her, and she’s surrounded by strange, unstable men with violent streaks. Her only friend, a coworker named June (Angela Brazil), knowingly leads her into an explosive encounter with a wannabe stalker (Charlie Thurston) who soon becomes an actual stalker. Thurston does crazy particularly well here.
The real star of the show, though, is Eugene Lee’s remarkable set, a wonky contraption full of unexpected bells and whistles. The play careens around from magical realism to tragedy to absurdist comedy – I haven’t even gotten to the haunting viola player or the various rootsy folk songs – but director Brian Mertes packs so much into the play that you can forgive a rushed onstage childbirth, or a wingless angel whose anticlimactic earthly descent is hampered by stagehands and rigging. Other zany ideas work unexpectedly well – an atonal recitation of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” say, or the cast attacking one another with swimming pool noodles. This isn’t the sort of show Trinity does very often; you won’t want to miss this.
image: Jackie Davis and Octavia Chavez-Richmond; photo by Mark Turek