BlüChaos Productions
at Northwest Actors Studio, 324-6328.
Through July 28.

It's really difficult to write a negative review of a small local production, because the people behind struggling little companies mean so well and are (naturally) broke. But I can't write very positively about Marisol. This play, about an apocalyptic New York, won its 1993 Obie Award for reasons known only to that year's judges, because it couldn't have won for its amateurish plot devices or silly ending, involving a cosmic war between angels and God in which the angels "win."

But then again, it's hard to tell what in Jose Rivera's script is good and what isn't, because this production (the first of BlüChaos' second season) is so weak. That means the lead actors (who are very young) have perhaps three facial expressions each at their disposal, and the stage timing is so off-kilter that I literally had to check around me to make sure I wasn't in a Laundromat, watching ordinary people interact in real time. The audience last weekend seemed to enjoy some of the play, however; and to its credit, Marisol makes some smart, cool observations about race and inequality as it takes on the mammoth task of creating a futuristic landscape via magical realism.

Set in the Bronx, it depicts a crazy, trash-ridden society becoming more violent each day. The main character, Marisol, has a guardian angel (as in It's a Wonderful Life) who, instead of being a bumbling klutz, is a rather haughty, beautiful woman in tight jeans with revolution on her mind. The angel abandons her human charge and joins "millions" of other angels to fight God, who has become senile.

The biblical magnitude of this scenario is difficult to pull off, especially with a near-nonexistent sound design and angel wings that look like moose antlers. The parts of Marisol that are deeply imagined--its poetic language, or the idea that angels write our dreams--are fairly lost amid poor execution.