The Collegian
Thursday, May 06, 2021

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Production studies III class prepares for 'Marisol'

The students in the production studies III class chose to produce "Marisol," a magical realist play written by Jose Rivera in the '90s.

The play, which will be the end result of the students' work in the capstone class for the theater department, will take place in February.

"Marisol" tells the story of Marisol, a woman from the Bronx who works in publishing in Manhattan and tries to homogenize herself. Marisol's guardian angel visits her and tells her about a war between angels and God because God has forgotten about people.

The world changes for the worse and Marisol is confronted with the poverty that she once ignored.

"I really think that 'Marisol' is going to be like nothing we've put on here before," said Caitlyn Duer, a senior theater major who is the director of the play.

Duer said the play focused on telling the story of people who are usually silenced or voiceless, like the poor living in forgotten areas and racial minorities.

"It's a big step in the department of theater and dance because it's the first show I think that's been done in the department that has a Latino actress as the leading character," said Adam Ferguson, a senior who is responsible for sound and public relations for the play.

Freshman Beverly Duran, who has never acted before, will play the part of Marisol. Duran was born in the Dominican Republic and is from New York City.

"I think the fact that the protagonist is Hispanic and from New York City, I can relate to that a lot," Duran said. "So I really like that and I think the plot is just very different and unique so that's going to be very interesting to see how that unfolds."

Duran said she was looking forward to discovering this new aspect of herself and looking forward to working with everyone.

"It's a diverse student production because we have cast a lot of people who don't typically participate in theater, which was kind of one of our goals," said senior Sloane True, who is the set designer.

Another goal for the six-person class was to find a play that they all liked.

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Duer said they went through a very extensive process of choosing a play.

"We all had a lot of different priorities for picking a play and on this one most of us just kind of agreed," she said. "I think this is the best meeting place for all of us, all of our priorities."

True said that "Marisol" had been looked at by the production studies III class for many years, but no class had ever done it because it was challenging for both production and the actors.

"It definitely ... just provokes a lot of thought about religion in a modern-day society and pretty much any time it would be relevant, and I think that's one of the most important aspects of the play," True said.

Ferguson said the Office of the Chaplaincy would help lead talkback sessions at the end of each of the performances.

The sessions will help the audience to discuss themes that run throughout the show that relate to issues on the campus and allow people to talk about them in a safe setting, he said.

Although the performances are in February, the class still has a lot of work to do.

Each member of the class is designated one or two positions that they are responsible for. The students are assigned advisers, but it is up to the students to seek them out for help.

"The thing about [production studies III] that makes it the most challenging class for the theater major is the fact that we're all kind of designated or choose roles and we know pretty much nothing about [them]," True said.

The production studies III class builds on production studies I and II where students plan things on paper, Ferguson said.

This class enables students to take things off of the paper and then apply it in real life, he said.

"We're in charge of what will happen," Duer said. "Ultimately we have the final say and it's just, there's really nothing like it."

"Marisol" will take place February 10 through February 12 at 7:30 p.m. and February 13 at 2 p.m. in Cousins Studio Theatre at the Modlin Center.

Contact staff writer Michelle Guerrere at michelle.guerrere@richmond.edu

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