Behind the curtain: the making of Marisol

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Behind the curtain: the making of Marisol

Allie Koenig, Atticus Keene, Sarida Morejon act passionately in the Alley Cat Players production of Marisol. photo courtesy of Ella Neff

Allie Koenig, Atticus Keene, Sarida Morejon act passionately in the Alley Cat Players production of Marisol. photo courtesy of Ella Neff

Allie Koenig, Atticus Keene, Sarida Morejon act passionately in the Alley Cat Players production of Marisol. photo courtesy of Ella Neff

Allie Koenig, Atticus Keene, Sarida Morejon act passionately in the Alley Cat Players production of Marisol. photo courtesy of Ella Neff

Megan Ramsey, Staff Writer

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The lights dimmed and all attention was focused on the stage: A man with a golf club beat Marisol until her guardian angel saved her. The Alley Cat Players debuted their fall show, “Marisol”, on Nov. 1 and performed a total of four shows. This is one of the series of plays planned with dark themes this year, following “The Island of Doctor Moreau”, and preceding “Sweeney Todd”.

Senior Sarida Morejon played the lead, Marisol. Even though she was unable to be present for the auditions, she got the part after sending in a video submission. Morejon said she wanted to represent a strong Latina woman like Marisol because there are few in high school theater.

“Marisol is my favorite character to play,” Morejon said. “Something about her being a Latina, being forced to conform to society’s expectations of a successful and strong woman is really relatable, and I think important to show.”

Sarida Morejon stars as Marisol in the dramatic production. photo courtesy of Ella Neff

The play was directed by LASA alumni and director, Jeremy Polk. Though he was a guest director, senior Luci Pierce and sophomore Isabelle Saquing had worked with him before. Nonetheless, Pierce felt she had benefited from Polk’s directing.

“I think it showed me there are so many different ways that people approach doing things, whether that be through acting or directing,” Pierce said. “It was an eye opener about how everybody kind of works differently.”

It was Morejon and junior Luke Nannapaneni’s first show with Polk. Nannapaneni felt that Polk helped make his first experience in a theatrical show enjoyable.

“I think I speak for everyone in theater that Jeremy Polk only makes the overall experience more exciting and new,” Nannapaneni said.

Morejon and Pierce agreed that it was cool to experience a different director and directing style.
“He’s a really awesome alumni and he helps out a lot with other shows as well, so it was really cool to get to work with him,” Pierce said. “It was interesting to see a different perspective than one we normally get.”

“Marisol” was the second show of the school year. The show’s complicated scene configurations made it difficult to rehearse and block. A bat even interrupted several scenes during the performance.

“My only concern about the show was the limited time frame we had to put it together,” Saquing said. “Since it was following the first fall play, we only had about a month until opening night. In the end, everything worked out well, and I think we were able to put on a pretty good show.”

“Marisol” also differed from other shows the Alley Cat Players have put on. “Marisol” had a heavy plot and many technical aspects on stage, such as the platform for the angel and the snow machine. The plot itself was complex and possibly difficult for the audience to understand, according to Nannapaneni.

“I was most worried about the audience understanding the complex plot of the play, mostly because I still had trouble understanding the play after many weeks of rehearsal,” Nannapaneni said. “But the play was very well received although still left many of the audience confused by the end.”

Many of the actors were playing new roles for them or characters who are not human. Because of this, the actors dedicated a lot of time to embodying their characters and perfecting their roles.

“We spent time in rehearsal analyzing our characters and what their wants or needs were,” Saquing said. “This helped me get into my character’s mindset when I went onstage.”

Morejon’s lead role of Marisol involved completely immersing herself in her character’s mindset as well as her mannerisms.

“I had to learn a new accent, that of a Puerto Rican woman raised in the Bronx, and that was so challenging,” Morejon said. “My director would joke about me sounding too much like Cardi B on some days, and too much like ‘Consuela’ on others, when all he really wanted was a middle between the two; a nice, solid, Jenny from the Block.”

Seeing the show come to life was also a highlight for the cast. Saquing and Pierce said they liked seeing the show come together in the form of a final product.

“The first time we were able to go and do a dress rehearsal on the set with all the different pieces was my favorite part because it was that level where you just feel everything kind of falling into place,” Pierce said. “It’s kind of a reassurance to both us as actors and to the techs that we’re about to produce a show, and it’s going to work out.”

After the long days of getting to know their characters and rehearsing, the Alley Cat Players arrived to their opening night.

“I remember finishing that final monologue, feeling so dazed and exhausted and dizzy,” Morejon said. “But overall knowing that I had done it, that we had put this incredible show together and that it had been so amazing. Knowing that all of the stress and pain and fun had been worth it. And coming out at the end for that validating applause from the audience? It was epic.”