Jose Rivera won an Obie Award for his 1992 play Marisol. Rivera was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in New York and studied with Gabriel Garcia Marquez — one of the founders of magic realism.
The whirl of characters and chaotic stream of events in Marisol are swept up in millennial concerns. Marisol (Jessica Lozano) is a 26-year-old editor for a science publisher. In the opening scene, she appears to be beaten to death in a subway car by a homeless psychopath (Ian Hoch) wielding a golf-club. An account of her murder runs in the news and Marisol's friends think she is dead.
But as we watch, Marisol returns to her apartment in a dangerous section of the Bronx and is approached by an angel (the formidable Monica Harris), who informs her God has grown old and incompetent. The angels are planning to revolt, usurp his place and fix what has gone wrong with the universe. As the apocalypse plays out, the angel periodically reappears, usually armed with a machine gun or sword.
Marisol goes home with her friend and co-worker June (Jennifer Pagan) to the Brooklyn apartment she shares with her mentally impaired brother Lenny (Ross Britz). He has developed an infatuation with Marisol after hearing about her from June. When he begins raving out of control, June throws him out and persuades Marisol to move into his bedroom.
The whole world is coming apart: Cows are giving milk that tastes of salt, the moon has drifted away, and a giant fire burns from Chicago to New York.
In Act 2, the apocalypse intensifies. Rag-covered mutants push back the walls and scuffle ominously. Homeless Lenny finds Marisol and demands she surrender to him. "I'm going to let you give me control of your life," he says. "I can protect you. I can be your guardian angel."
Lenny also assaults his sister with a golf club. When Marisol tries to find June, Lenny won't help her, so she hits him with the club.
The city collapses into further chaos and there is more violence. A pregnant Lenny re-enters, but his attempt at birth yields a stillborn mess, represented by a red scarf. The fetus is buried in a graveyard for street-born babies, and the magical realism becomes ever more nightmarish.
Emilie Whelan directed a talented cast with gusto. Pandora Gastelum contributed remarkable angel wings. And a tip of the hat to Cripple Creek for their adventurous and risky choices of plays worth mounting. — Dalt Wonk
Thru April 24
8 p.m. Fri.-Sun.
AllWays Lounge, 2240 St. Claude Ave., 218-5778; www.cripplecreekplayers.org