Marisol | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Marisol 

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Marisol, Greasy Joan & Company, at the Viaduct Theater. Jose Rivera isn't the first playwright to portray New York City as the distillation of everything evil in capitalism. But Marisol goes a step further, blaming our dysfunction on the overthrow of an enfeebled God by rebel angels, which ushers in the new millennium. Bereft of their spiritual protectors, the city's denizens abandon their civilization to apocalyptic chaos.

But since 9/11, we ourselves have witnessed this community's postdisaster resiliency, making Rivera's 1990 vision of Y2K devastation seem rather quaint. And the playwright's ironies--a yuppie Latina is reduced to street poverty, an ex-hippie is transformed into a neo-Nazi, a slow-witted male gives birth--no longer have the visceral impact they did in more complacent times.

Director Julieanne Ehre and her cast struggle to forge some coherence out of Rivera's now hackneyed jumble of paranoid fantasy and class hostility. Sierra Cleveland as the title character, Kathleen Powers as her leftist-turned-fascist chum, Ed Dzialo as a variety of urban gargoyles, and Frances Wilkerson as an Uzi-toting angel all wear their characters like riot shields, declaiming Rivera's quasi-poetic rhapsodies with dogged solemnity. Surrounded by scenic designer Matthew York's intricate collages of graffiti, garbage, and religious icons, they were industrious enough to render the preview performance I attended endurable. But talent of this quality deserves better than old bogeys.

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