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CSU Theatre Dept. displays staying power in first play at new location

By Kelsey Smith
On February 27, 2012

  • Her guardian angel (Mary-Francis Renee Miller) stands behind Marisol (Tania Benites) and warns her of the revolution in heaven. Photo by Steve Wagner, courtesy of CSU Theatre Department

With its inaugural performance of "Marisol" on the Allen Theatre Second Stage, the Cleveland State University Department of Theatre and Dance shows it has what it takes to be a resident company of Playhouse Square.

"Marisol," written in 1993 by José Rivera, tells the story of a young woman named Marisol (Tania Benites) who is visited by her guardian angel (Mary-Francis Renee Miller). The angel informs Marisol she can no longer serve as her guardian because of a revolution in heaven against an old and dying God. The revolution spreads to New York City, foreboding the apocalypse before the millennium.

Cast members captivate the audience with their powerful performances. The friendship between Marisol and June (Shelby Balash) is one that the audience can identify with. Balash's performance is powerful and convincing, exemplified by how she shaved her head for the role.

 In addition to the relationship between characters, the set and lighting helped enrich the atmosphere of scenes.

If there are any flaws in this apocalyptic fantasy, it's that the plot can be somewhat difficult to follow at times.

Still, "Marisol" is an excellent debut for the new venue. It shows that CSU can live up to the expectations set for them by becoming a member of Playhouse Square. Cast and crew members seem to be up to the challenge of becoming a resident company and ready to make the Allen Theatre their new home.

 "Marisol" runs until March 4. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for non-CSU college students, $5 for CSU students and faculty and $5 for seniors. For tickets and information, call 216-241-6000.

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