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Chasing her angel

Play plumbs godless urban wasteland

A city turns into a moldering urban wasteland. Angels are warring, and God has grown old and senile. Men are bearing children, an indication that end times are near.

That is the premise of Marisol, which chronicles the story of Marisol Perez, a 26-year-old Puerto Rican woman living in the Bronx. Marisol has to navigate a terrifying war zone after her guardian angel leaves her to fight in a revolution against God.

The University of North Texas Department of Dance and Theatre opens the play tonight at the University Theatre. It runs through Nov. 10.

Christie Vela, an acclaimed actress and director in North Texas, is guest directing Marisol, which earned an Obie Award for playwright Jose Rivera in 1993.

Vela is a member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company and master teacher at the Dallas Theater Center, where her credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, God of Carnage and Henry IV.

Vela said she is drawn to great plays and great actors.

“I do not see my cast as a group of college students. I see them as young professionals with a fresh perspective on a piece that has become somewhat of a classic,” said Vela, an artistic company member of Kitchen Dog Theater. “Our cast and stage management team are full of talented, passionate, open, interested and interesting people, who bring their own life’s experiences to the piece. They are ready to learn, to be vulnerable and honest. That’s all a director can really hope for.”

Weaving together elements of comedy, fantasy and theater of the absurd, Marisol features eccentric and terrifying individuals, including a golf club-wielding madman and angels who have traded in their wings for Uzis and leather jackets.

Performing in the title role is Flor Campillo, a junior theater major, who fell in love with the play’s vibrant dialogue and poetic script.

“This is a strange, crazy, beautiful, poetic play,” said Campillo. “Marisol is a character who goes through life wearing blinders. She sees only what she wants to see, and in some sense, we all do the same.”

Scott Osborne, a designer who has worked in theater in Texas and New York, is the guest scenic designer.

— Staff report