BWW Reviews: MARISOL from Collision Project Feels Overly 'Edgy'
When my Mom goes to see shows of mine that are on the edgy or weirder side she inevitably comes back with the comment, "That was interesting" afterward. Translation: not my thing and a little too weird. I, on the other hand, like a little weird in my theater especially when it culminates into a good message or "aha!" moment at the end. But while I was on board through Act One with the message and imagery in "Marisol", the inaugural production from newly hatched theater company The Collision Project, Act Two led me into a mélange of overdone messages and just became kind of "interesting" for me.
You see life is not easy for Marisol (Carolyn Marie Monroe) as she tries to make her way through the not so friendly streets of a dystopian New York. Credit card companies are rounding up people over their limits, skinheads are burning random homeless people and Marisol has narrowly escaped a savage beating from a crazy guy with a golf club on the subway. But when Marisol's guardian angel (Shermona Mitchell) appears to her and announces she's leaving to go and fight a war against an ailing God, Marisol's life quickly spirals down the rabbit hole along with her violent friend, June (Libby Barnard) and June's unbalanced brother Lenny (Ben D. McFadden) who has imagined an entire life and family with Marisol even though he's just met her.
As I said, Act One of Jose Rivera's play is on the good side of edgy with tons of fascinating imagery and a story with potential but then Act Two hits and all hell breaks loose. The imagery then becomes a little forced and the story forsakes direction in favor of being "deep". Director Ryan Higgins keeps the pace going and pulls some wonderful performances out of the cast but I wonder if any direction could salvage this story which feels like it began to end about three different times.
Monroe is good in the role but lacked the consistent focus and intent that such a central character requires in order to effectively lead the audience through such a complicated play. Barnard gives tons of focus in her part but I would have liked more levels in her character (but that could be due to the writing). And Jill Snyder-Marr and Carter Rodriquez turn in some fine moments in smaller roles. However it was McFadden and Mitchell who manage the most engaging characters of the piece with tons of presence and intent. I found myself wanting more of a play about them and less about Marisol. But I guess a play called "Lenny and the Angel" would sound like a bad 80's sitcom.
Ultimately even with some fine performances and a promising Act One the piece couldn't keep my interest with the drawn out and repetitive Act Two. So what we have is a promising new company with some obvious talent involved that picked a play that just wasn't my cup of tea and was just kind of "interesting". With my three letter rating system I have to give it a MEH+.
"Marisol" from The Collision Project performs at Inscape through February 22nd. For tickets or information visit them online at www.collisiontheater.org.