Rody Vera’s translation of Marisol opens Tanghalang Ateneo’s 40th season
With the leitmotif, ‘Sturm and Drang’/ ‘Bagyo at Bagabag’, Tanghalang Ateneo opens its 40th season with its first mainstage production, ‘Marisol’. Premiering in 1992, the magic – realist dark comedy is breathed life once again after earning Jose Rivera the prestigious Obie Award for Playwriting in 1993. With the translation of Palanca Hall of Famer, Rody Vera and the direction of dramaturg and director, Erika Estacio, Marisol is sure to set the audiences wondering whether or not they should stick to their old and safe beliefs or take the daunting leap of faith and start anew.
The Premise of the play
The play dramatizes the titular character, Marisol Perez’s (CJ Lubango), story of survival as she finds herself caught in a disordered world begot by the senile God. Things only take a darker turn when the heaven’s angels decide to wage a coup d’état against the old and senile God, who is bent in dragging the whole universe with him to the grave. With the angels’ coup d’état against the old God helmed by Marisol’s guardian angel, Marisol, like all other mortals, is now left to fend for herself. And without her guardian angel’s protection, she is subjected to the horrors of the dying world. With her best friend, June (MJ Vitug, Riki Angeles), June’s unhinged brother, Lenny (Ethan Manalo), and some unusual faces she meets along the way, they struggle to find their way to safety, while looking for answers in the midst of an apocalypse where in her faith and beliefs crash in a world that can no longer be home to her old faith and past beliefs.
On the surface, the play might seem like the same, old dystopian watch, sans the zombies, but when you look at it from a different perspective and allow yourself to dive deeper into it, you’d actually see it as something that can make you realize that some things should be let go, even if it was what worked for you before when no one had. In the play we see Marisol struggling with the fact that all of the horrors happening were caused by her much loved and revered God who’s already old and had gone senile. She doesn’t believe it and dismisses it as blasphemous; she continues to worship him, ignoring the horrible things happening around her. Towards the end, she finally accepts it, and along with the other mortals who have banded together to defeat the dying God. The play teaches us that just because it had been good and had worked well for you before, does not mean you’d have to remain through it when it no longer caters to your needs in your present situation. We must learn to entrust our hopes only on places where hope is sure to blossom.