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Dark Fantasia "Marisol" Opens for 1-Week Run at NKU

Marisol is having a bad day.

Still shaken from having narrowly survived a vicious attack on the subway, the Manhattan copy editor is equally shocked by a visit from her guardian angel. Her heavenly protector informs Marisol that she is abandoning her earth-bound charge to answer the call to lead an angelic campaign - a struggle that soon throws the human world into complete chaos.

So begins the 1993 Obie Playwriting Award-winning play MARISOL, a dark fantasia that grapples with a combination of surreal situations, spiritual and social issues, and political consciousness. Performances run for one week only at Northern Kentucky University.

Senior and Cincinnati-native Kearson Hawkins-Johnson takes on the titular role of Marisol, a young woman who is trying to navigate a world that is falling apart. NKU audiences may recognize her as Puck in last season's A Midsummer Night's Dream and as Emily and others in Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches. Hawkins-Johnson has also performed as the Dragon Girl in Dragon Play with Know Theatre of Cincinnati.

Kearson considers this her most challenging role to date, and one that keeps the actress on stage and engaged for the entire show. "It just takes so much stamina...it is taking a lot out of me physically, mentally, and emotionally."

The role is teaching her to let go as an actor and trust her intellect and instincts more.

Playing Marisol's former Guardian Angel is Freshman Je‘Shaun Jackson. This is the first college production for the Nicholasville, Ky. native. Jackson describes his character as meticulous and manipulative as well as an important presence in key moments throughout the production. The young actor cites working with director Daryl Harris as a highlight of his experience in creating the character: "The way his mind works is phenomenal."

Harris is an associate professor of performance and has been at Northern Kentucky University for fifteen years. Over his tenure, his focus has been on ethnic theater, exploring diverse works and voices. Although written by Puerto Rican playwright Jose Rivera, the play explores themes that are universal. MARISOL has been described as "a hard-hitting exploration of theology, sex, fear, paranoia, and human relationships." Harris hopes audiences leave with questions and that those questions lead to conversations about their personal reaction to the play.

Performances of MARISOL run Tuesday-Sunday, October 23-28 in the Strauss Theatre at Northern Kentucky University. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. except the Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.. Advisory: MARISOL contains mature language and subject matter.

For tickets or more information visit www.nku.edu/theatre or call the box office at 859.572.5464.

Written by Rob Bucher, RCN contributor
Photo by Philip Krinsky (provided)