From heaven’s door to earthly war

The moon has vanished, Brooklyn is at war, coffee is gone, and angels exchange their wings for machine weapons. Finally, the insurrection reaches New York City while a celestial conflict rages in heaven. Marisol Perez sets out on a bizarre quest to find her way home through the chaos of a collapsing world without the protection of her guardian angel. 

“Marisol” opens next week at Minnesota State’s Department of Theatre and Dance, continuing the current theatrical season. “Marisol” runs 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16-18 and 23-25, and 2 p.m. Feb. 25-26 in the Ted Paul Theatre at the Earley Center for Performing Arts. 

Maxwell Collyard, a Minneapolis-based multimedia performance artist, contributed work to this production. They produce projections, photographs and film performances throughout the Twin Cities. They also do a bit of acting and directing shows as well. 

“They are working on a video projection for the show. The projection multimedia design is an intricate part of what we will see. It’s not just the usual light sound, but also projections,” said Vladimir Rovinsky, the director of the show and an associate professor of the Department of Theatre and Dance at MSU. “This show is complicated, but it’s also very rewarding because the result is beautiful and interesting.” 

José Rivera, a Puerto Rican playwright, wrote this play, which came out in 1992, toward the end of the AIDS epidemic. The actress that plays Marisol, Liza Rotty, spoke about how this play is more than just fiction and plays a part in real-world events. 

“José Rivera lived in New York, and because he had this lived experience, he wrote something poignant and has now been able to speak to a lot of new age crises that we’re going through and what feels like a post-apocalyptic apocalyptic world,” said Rotty. “It was popular and spoke to that experience in this meta way, and now, post 911, it became even more popular, and now it’s having even more of a resurgence because of everything happening in the world.” 

Lyreshia Ghostlon-Green, who plays the guardian angel, said playing a character written for an African-American woman is powerful. 

“The way we portray angels in ‘Marisol’ is not like the Christian way,” said Ghostlon-Green. “My costume is a leather jacket and ripped jeans. I also get to carry an Uzi, and I have black wings. It’s very badass. I think there’s something powerful about that. So I’m happy to be able to serve as that for the show.” 

Both Ghostlon-Green and Rotty encourage students to come to the show. 

“There’s something to be said about how we treat each other in this society. This show touches on a lot of that, especially with women of color, and the interactions between the supremacy of different types of people,” said Ghostlon-Green. “Coming to see the show to hear about that message is one of my biggest takeaways, and the set is cool and abstract. Like it’s so modern, and if anyone enjoys just wanting to come to see something cool and something that’s going to make them laugh or maybe even cry.” 

“It’s cool, and it’s a meaningful story. It’s really important, I think, also for people to hear stories written by and for people of color and any intersectionality that you reside,” said Rotty. 

Go to the MSU Theatre website and click on the purchase tickets tab to get tickets for the show. 

Header Photo: Two actors practice in a dress rehearsal for the upcoming ‘Marisol’ play, the most recent production from the Minnesota State Theatre Department. (Lauren Viska/The Reporter)

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

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