NEW PALTZ — New Paltz Summer Repertory Theatre begins its 2001 season with a production of José Rivera’s Obie Award-winning play Marisol: An Apocalyptic Fantasy. The play is performed in air-conditioned McKenna Theatre Thursday, June 21 to Sunday, June 24 and Tuesday, June 26 to Sunday, July 1. All performances begin at 8:00 PM.
Rivera’s play is characterized by its fantastical flavor, which is inspired by the body of writing often called Magical Realism. As Rivera says, “my plays are not exaggerations. As far as I am concerned, everybody is a magic realist. We all think magically when we sleep. In our dreams there are monsters and angels. Everyone has them. In my world, the inner psychology of the characters is just reflected onstage…It’s the same thing Shakespeare did when he used a thunderstorm to reflect the fury of King Lear.”
Dr. Beverly Brumm, director of Marisol: An Apocalyptic Fantasy and SUNY New Paltz faculty member points to Rivera’s close association with noted author and self-proclaimed magic realist Gabriel Garcia Marquez as influential in the playwright’s stylistic development. “Magical Realism assaults the basic structures of rationalism and logic by treating fantastic events as entirely natural or real; the approach shakes up the traditional notions of time and space and cause and effect, reaching for the mystery and magic behind surface reality.” In Marisol, Rivera produces a world that is distinctively surrealistic, a world in which angels interact with people and where such interaction comes without apology.
“Jose Rivera’s conversion to writing plays of magic realism brings innovation and excitement to the theatre,” continues Dr. Brumm. “He brings an additional gift to the theatre as well, in his identity as a minority playwright: he is one of a group of non-white, non-mainstream artists who provide audiences with opportunities to more deeply explore and understand worlds not their own. In the American landscape, these works need and deserve support. As Rivera has said, ‘I find that being a quote, unquote minority writer in this culture, you have to fight to get your voice heard. Each play is a declaration of my right to speak and to be included; it’s sort of like throwing down a gauntlet.'”
Dr. Brumm emphasizes this socially conscious vein, citing the intrinsic and necessary social aspect of all Magical Realism. “José Rivera has achieved this in Marisol. In addition, he has fulfilled one of his personal definitions: ‘One of the roles of the artist is to bear witness to our time.’ We hope that this production supports his imaginative and unique voice.”
Tickets to Marisol: An Apocalyptic Fantasy may be purchased through the Parker Theatre box office by phone with MasterCard or VISA or in person with check, cash or credit card: call 845-257-3880. The box office is open Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 9:00 PM.
For more information on other New Paltz Summer Repertory Theatre 2001 Productions, go to http://www.newpaltz.edu/summerrep.
Additional images from Marisol are available on the web at http://hawk.newpaltz.edu/news/images/marisol.html.
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