SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN Review

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SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Oct. 27. Read the show description.

The Town celebrate the return of music and a radio connection to the outside world in the aftermath of a brutal civil war that has torn their town apart.  Photo by Sandy Underwood.

The Town celebrate the return of music and a radio connection to the outside world in the aftermath of a brutal civil war that has torn their town apart. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

At times, Playhouse’s dark and powerful SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN feels more like a Grimm fairy tale than a fable. That isn’t a criticism or a complaint.

This world premiere of Martin Zimmerman’s thought-provoking and layered script is complimented by the smart and raw direction of KJ Sanchez.  It plays extremely well in the small Shelterhouse space and the strong ensemble pulls you in even closer.

I don’t think it was just me that experienced this “closeness.” The audience seemed equally involved. As the story progressed, the silence of the patrons became nearly complete as the final confrontation unfolded. We know it’s going to end badly, it’s a question of how badly and what form that ending will take.

Eugenio (Luis Moreno) encourages Moisés (Gerardo Rodriguez) to use his healing powers. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Eugenio (Luis Moreno) encourages Moisés (Gerardo Rodriguez) to use his healing powers. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

The supporting actors, Ana Grosse as Belen, Gabi Mayorga as Monica and Luis Moreno as Eugenio, do excellent work. Grosse’s portrayal of Belen makes it easy to see why she was Moises’ world. Mayorga’s Monica matures naturally to meet the demands of her changing roles from newlywed to caregiver and mother. Moreno brings a sense of vulnerability and self-awareness  to Eugenio’s failings and attempt at redemption.

Mónica (Gabi Mayorga) and Luis (Arturo Sorio) discuss dreams for their future. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Mónica (Gabi Mayorga) and Luis (Arturo Sorio) discuss dreams for their future. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Arturo Soria’s entrance as Luis is all energy and swagger, which is perfect for the character. The character’s transition were natural and worked really well. Opening night, one of the middle Luis/Monica scenes seemed out of rhythm, but only briefly.

Gerardo Rodriquez is mesmerizing to watch. His performance as Moises is quiet and unassuming at face value, but at times it seems more a facade barely containing the raw emotions under the surface.  When you see the love Moises has for his wife Belen, you also seem to feel the love coming off the actor. The same is true for the character’s sense of loss and rage.

The confrontation between Moises and Luis is heart-wrenching. I did have sympathy (to different degrees) for both characters, and my hope for some form of redemption for each of them was represented on stage by Eugenio and Monica. Excellent work by all involved.

Belén (Ana Grosse) and Moisés (Gerardo Rodriguez) share a happy memory. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Belén (Ana Grosse) and Moisés (Gerardo Rodriguez) share a happy memory. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

The simple set (designed by Wilson Chin) fit the fable theme well. The walls of the theater were adorned with cardboard, corrugated metal and windows. The stringing of the multi-colored lights between the windows (that could be lit from behind) gave a sense of openness to the village. Robert J. Auilar’s lighting design also added to the emotional impact of the show. The lighting for the soldier’s was appropriately unsettling.

Opening night, the emotional blow of two simple words elicited a strong, vocal reaction from the audience as many released the breath they didn’t know they were holding.

Overall, powerful stuff and damn good theater.

Complete list of show times for SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN.

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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