“A bleak yet moving tale…‘Seven Spots on the Sun’ is a ferocious play…Director Mengesha and the assembled cast have interpreted the work in blistering fashion…These elements come together into a play that is nothing short of harrowing…A wicked account of war and its consequences, full of raw emotion, and blessedly free of cliche and melodrama. Ideal for the socially minded theatre-goer. A feast for the heart and mind. Recommended to anyone who likes a good play.” Full Review
"A parable about revenge and forgiveness that, in its final showdown, attains a punch-in-the-gut power…‘Seven Spots on the Sun’ is a tricky piece of writing, combining brutal realism with fabulistic plot twists and featuring extensive passages of direct address. But, under the assured direction of Weyni Mengesha, these potentially clashing elements come together to wrenching effect. All five principals make strong contributions." Full Review
“A searing work...This is an allegory and is rich in symbolism...There are scalding performances by Sean Carvajal as Luis, Flor De Liz Perez as Monica, and Rey Lucas as Moisés. Flora Diaz is lovely as Belén and Peter Jay Fernandez is convincing as Eugenio, the priest. The entire cast is commendable. The excellent direction is by Weyni Mengesha. The performers enunciate clearly and project. The effective set is by Arnulfo Maldonado...And yes, this reviewer wept.” Full Review
"'Seven Spots on the Sun' fearlessly faces the cruelties of war...The magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez meets the poetical symbolism of Milan Kundera in 'Seven Spots on the Sun,' and is topped with occasionally graphic and realistic scenes of passion and violence...The joined forces of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and The Sol Project, a young and ambitious company dedicated to producing works by Latinx playwrights, lead to a truly fruitful collaboration." Full Review
"A moving anti-war polemic...Like so many plays this year, 'Seven Spots' has become eerily timely in its survey of a society divided...War is hell, if you didn’t know it, but Zimmerman has a chronicler’s gift for seeing broadly. He sustains a mostly convincing narrative, with echoes of Gabriel García Márquez, without becoming overwhelmed by its inventory of horrors. Director Weyni Mengesha, making her New York debut, deserves credit for this tightrope walk as well." Full Review
"We already know that war is hell. It's also messy, which may explain why Zimmerman's new antiwar play, though sometimes searing, is also such a jumble...There's a generic quality to the story and the characters, though the ensemble cast, guided by director Weyni Mengesha, mitigates the latter; we always care about these people, even if we don't fully believe in them...The play does not go down easy. But it's not easily forgotten. It leaves a wound." Full Review
"Its callowness shows in its occasional slips into melodrama...and an almost obligatory inclusion of the magical realism often associated with Latin American literature. And yet, it is still an effective piece of work...Zimmerman forces the audience to confront the differing ways that people respond to oppression under a totalitarian regime...The cast gives strong performances...Director Mengesha has a tougher time wrangling the fractured narrative but ultimately gets the job done." Full Review
“A derivative play in a beautiful and beguiling production…We wonder if this tell-don't-show style might be more conducive to the page, rather than the stage. Mengesha works hard to dispel that notion with a visually arresting production…Several of the performances are also quite memorable…Can there be a lasting peace without real justice? It is a valuable question that would land with more of an impact if Zimmerman's work didn't feel so much like a throwback to past literary triumphs.” Full Review
"Handsomely mounted and sensitively acted, but the play itself lacks dramatic focus...The narrative jumps back and forth through time too often for clarity. There's an allegory present somewhere, but between moments of brutality, hopefulness, religious hypocrisy and madness, the 80-minute piece is jumbled...'Seven Spots on the Sun' is certainly ambitious and is bound to touch hearts with its sincerity." Full Review
“These couples collide in a surprising and transformative way as the complex play progresses…Mengesha’s uneven direction detracts from Mr. Zimmerman’s extended metaphor and often undermines the play’s magical realism and extensive use of tropes...Under Ms. Mengesha’s direction, these tropes often conspire to confuse rather than to elucidate meaning. Mr. Zimmerman’s play is successful in its efforts to focus on the effects of war and is worth the look.” Full Review
"While 'Seven Spots on the Sun' is beautiful in language, it is hampered by underwritten characters and unnecessary detours from the main story...The unconventional story arc doesn't seem to do its subject any favors...The actors all give exceptional performances, and make good use of the rich language that Zimmerman employs...At times the language here is too purple...Mengesha’s staging gets a bit cramped, and is all the more complicated by the timeline." Full Review
“Several plays are struggling to be heard from within the overwrought architecture...The play is bruised purple with metaphors…It is also unsettling unintentionally, in the clash between its floridness and its heavy burden of witness. Each short-circuits the other, and the result is too often bathos if not outright confusion. The staging is about as unsubtle as it could be...Mengesha encourages the actors to go big...Only in simpler moments is the story able to land convincingly.” Full Review
"Muddled on every crucial level...The narrative threads dramatically intersect but nothing is that compelling. Zimmerman’s stylized dialogue is often in the mode of a poetry slam with colorful and forceful declarations. The play comes across as an academic exercise rather than a work of true feeling grounded in reality...Mengesha has the talented cast performing at full throttle, resulting in overwrought and collectively overall ineffective characterizations." Full Review
See it if You like stylistic magical realism about war and healing
Don't see it if You want straightforward contemporary theatre; you don't like deliberately dramatic performances; you're easily disturbed by violence
See it if Characters suffer from the effects of war and have to choose between peace/forgiveness and justice/revenge afterwards.
Don't see it if Highly confrontational. Some audience members had to distract themselves with their playbills or phones.
See it if Care about the legacy of war and torture. You're interested in the themes of guilt revenge and forgiveness.
Don't see it if You don't want to see scenes of torture and other violence. You don't at least have a small understanding of Spanish.
See it if You want to see an intense performance. You want to see great performers. You want to see a performance about a miraculous experience.
Don't see it if You are not interested in seeing some great performers in an intense play. You don't want to see a play that involves torture and murder.
See it if you want to see an aesthetically adventurous play confronting human capacity to tolerate violence; richly resonant & beautifully performed
Don't see it if you need a clear heroic (or anti-heroic) protagonist &/or emphatic narrative resolution
See it if You want to see good theatre in a intimate space. It uses the stage really well, and all the actors kill it onstage, for the most part.
Don't see it if if you hate the breaking of the 4th wall, a slow and a bit confusing beginning, shows that tackle war, and a copout ending.
See it if you enjoy anti-war narratives with irony & a touch of magic realism, fast moving 85 minutes, relevant to many countries, much to ponder
Don't see it if you don't like loud booms and knocking, or (suggestive) torture scenes, don't like to see the violence normal folk are capable of.
See it if you like emotionally intense thought provoking dramas. Set in an intimate theater with adult language and themes.
Don't see it if you like family friendly shows or musicals with elaborate sets.
See it if You are interested in seeing a well-acted (sometimes painfully so) allegory mirroring some very real situations in much of Latin Armerica.
Don't see it if You don't have a strong stomach for torture, you suffer from PTSD, or you are from a country that has experienced violent civil war.
See it if if you are interested in new writing especially from self-identified Latinx writers speaking about legacies of violence in Latin America
Don't see it if you find intense, complex, violent work off putting
See it if You want to see a story about how war tears people apart and how people struggles to heal their past pain.
Don't see it if You don't like Latino theaters or you want a light entertainment. A little bit confusing at certain points, needs more editing.
See it if You like theater that makes you uncomfortable and spotlights cultural issues. It covers atrocities during a civil war and their effects.
Don't see it if You want a happy, neat, uplifting story. Or if some narration and miming bother you. How some moments unfolded worked better than others.
See it if You're interested in contemplations of personal sacrifice vs self-preservation that are buttressed by emotions but are not all that original
Don't see it if The artificially exalted speech didn't really work very well for me. Rather, it worked quite well in third person (i.e., parson's monologues
See it if You enjoy seeing great actors dig into an intense play about civil war in South America.
Don't see it if You are turned off by very serious topics or are expecting a big budget spectacle.
See it if You are open to metaphors(or magical realism?) and mysterious spiritual principles(read: karma). And willing to be educated a bit and think.
Don't see it if You expect something much lighter than exploring death/birth, war/peace, resentment/forgiveness etc.
See it if you're interested in new works, magical realism, allegory, want to support a smart and timely new play, love strong emotional performances.
Don't see it if you need your theatre evenly consistent (this show is uneven but when its good its great), are uncomfortable with violence/torture on stage.
See it if You are looking for something intense, and you don't mind allegory. It doesn't exist in any one place--it is every war torn town.
Don't see it if You don't like strong images of violence/torture, or poetic, declarative scripts.
See it if shows wrenching choices S. American wars impose on two families and traumatic post-war results, effective ensemble, prose of high quality
Don't see it if jumbled plot lines, overwrought declamations by characters, allegorical nature/explanatory monologues universalizes but vitiates power
See it if you're interested in story lines dealing with multiple issues performed by a generally good ensemble cast. Well-staged on a nicely done set.
Don't see it if You are put off by occasional overwrought direction, and acting or by violence, war, plague and other unfortunate tragedies of life.
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