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BWW Review: Stunningly Unflinching SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN Mesmerizes From Start to Finish


SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN/written by Martín Zimmerman/directed by Michael John Garcés/The Theatre @ Boston Court/thru November 1, 2015

The West Coast premiere of playwright Martín Zimmerman's involving SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN receives a splendid, mesmerizing mounting with all the artistic elements artfully converging into one of the best and riveting theatrical experience I've seen in the Los Angeles theatre scene this year.

Michael John Garcés meticulously and skillfully directs his incredibly talented cast, staging their movements to utilize all the first-rate production elements in a flowing, lyrical, fascinating tale of an ugly civil war in a Latin American village of San Ysidro.

From the opening moments of SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN with the very effective visual effects of water and sound effects of static combined with the ensemble's infectious joy for their latin beats coming from their 'Soni' radio; this The Theatre @ Boston Court co-production with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater grabs the audience's attention and holds on to its finale.

Citizens of San Ysidro convey the simple elation of finally receiving radio reception after a war-caused power outage. Daniel Penilla and Michael Uribes bicker and then rejoice with Dianna Aguilar as The Towns, each convincingly playing various shooting victims and villagers. Angelo McCabe adeptly portrays the town priest Eugenio with the command of a religious leader but without the requisite backbone. McCabe fully engages in his seesaw of control and lack thereof.

The town doctor Moisés receives total embodiment from the powerful Jonathan Nichols. Moisés turns out to be the actual moral leader of San Ysidro (instead of the presumed priest Eugenio). Moisés' wife Belén, so charismatically played by Murielle Zuker, also assists at Moisés' clinic. Nichols and Zuker's scene with a pineapple begins as not uncommon marital argument; then morphing into a very hot, sensual mating game; and, eventually evolving into a tingly raw confession/revelation. Nichols and Zuker's final scene together would bring tears out of a stone. Wow!!!

Zimmerman's very smart script introduces his drama's main villain Luis as a industrious, loving man with all the best intentions of loving and providing for his wife Mónica. Christopher Rivas transitions quite persuasively as the hopeless romantic Luis into the battle-shocked shell of a man the civil war has left him. Rivas frighteningly commands the stage as layers of his post traumatic stress disorder and their causes keep unveiling themselves. Natalie Camunas, pitch-perfect as Mónica, transforms from innocent loving wife (who's ecstatic over a new washing machine) to what seems to appear as soldier's widow (though Luis' alive and physically resides with her) to take-charging mother of their sick baby Ailen. Rivas and Camunas' pre-war scenes - so flirty, playful, so very sexy! Their scenes post-war - unsettlingly dangerous as a result of Luis' seething, unpredictable, uncontrollable rage. Wow again!

Some of the most tension-inducing scenes have The Towns rhythmically and urgently pounding the corrugated metal walls of the various San Ysidro buildings. Kudos to Sara Ryung Clement for her detailed, totally utilized set. Wait 'til you see the flowing water washing off Moisés' bloody hands!

Tom Ontiveros' video projections on the corrugated metal vividly depict the imminent doom of invading soldiers, as well as, their aftermath. John Nobori's distinctive sound design heighten the multi-tragedies' urgency.

Without giving too much more of the plot away, bring a box of tissues for the highly climatic scene showcasing the expert acting prowess of Nichols, Rivas and Camunas. One of the most deserving standing ovations. Wow! Wow! And Wow!

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From This Author Gil Kaan