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'Less of a hierarchy in the room': OU student-directed shows to open with 'Marisol,' 'Circle Mirror Transformation'

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student directed plays

The posters for the upcoming student-directed plays via the OU Helmerich School of Drama's website. 

This week will be the opening of two student-directed plays by students in the OU Helmerich School of Drama. 

"Marisol" opens Tuesday night followed by "Circle Mirror Transformation" on Wednesday night, both starting at 7:30 p.m. 

Written by José Rivera, "Marisol" tells the story of a Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx, said Alyssa Carrasco, director of the production. 

Marisol, the protagonist, is visited by her guardian angel, who tells her that she will now be on her own, as the angel is going to start a revolution. Marisol has to learn how to navigate the hardships of sexual assault, being without a home and food insecurity on her own. 

“The big question we asked ourselves throughout the rehearsal process is, 'what do you do when you have no more faith, when your comfort and security is taken away from you?'” Carrasco said. 

Carrasco said she wants people to see the show with an open mind and leave “with power.” She said she wants people to watch the show and “stand up for the injustices of the world, fight for what is right and not have to settle for injustice.”

"Circle Mirror Transformation" by playwright Annie Baker takes place in a community acting class in a in a fictional Vermont town.

The play is about “five very, very different people as far as class, race and gender … about the connections they make and the universality of the human experience,” Emily Stuhler said. “Over the past few years, especially since COVID has happened, everything feels so divisive. People feel far apart, unable to really connect to each other or unwilling to understand the impact of each other in the way that the characters in this play do.” 

Stuhler hopes that after seeing the play, people will “try to go forward in their lives with as much grace and love for others as possible.” 

Both Carrasco and Stuhler treasure the work produced from student directed plays, the pair said. 

“It's kind of amazing how your peers will come together and help you with your (student-directed play),” said Carrasco. “If they believe the story, then all hands will go on deck to make all the impossible become possible.” 

Stuhler said there is a certain benefit in having everyone in the room be peers rather than professors or other authority figures. 

“There’s less of a hierarchy in the room,” said Stuhler, “I think actors are less afraid to take risks.”

The first performance of "Marisol" is 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 9 and 11. "Circle Mirror Transformation," which runs on alternate nights to "Marisol," will show Dec. 8 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 3 p.m.

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