In Martin Zimmerman’s play Seven Spots on the Sun, civil war leads to a plague which leads to miraculous healing. The plot’s main focus is on the brutality of war. In particular, how civil war exposes incidents of cowardice which the town’s citizens must confront as loved ones, friends and acquaintances are either murdered or simply disappear. Individual witnesses succumb to feelings of hopelessness while trying to stop the assault of a tyrannical army. The townspeople’s inability to stop the carnage leads to charges of criminal accusations against one another. Doctor Moises, played by Rey Lucas, is seemingly transformed into a healer when he destroys the town’s official radio, which declares amnesty to all actions associated with the civil war.
Dr. Moises returns to society after living as a recluse following his wife Belen’s disappearance at the hands of the army. In her absence, he is both mournful and guilt-ridden. Belen revealed greater heroism than Moises when she was confronted with a politically threatening situation, the very circumstances of which led to her abduction. Moises is clearly haunted by the prospect of his wife’s suffering, most evidently in a scene which finds him examining plague patients for the first time.
A subplot involving a soldier named Luis, played by Sean Carvajal, helps offer a full picture of how the reality of economic unfairness rips oppressed people’s lives apart. Moises’ troubled relationship with a priest, played by Peter Jay Fernandez, also provides a further depth to the play. Their scene in the clinic, which reveals Moises’s healing powers, is a highlight of the evening.
The production, directed by Weyni Mengesha, underscores the relationship between healing and energy, from the vivid dance scene which leads to the war, to the somber depiction of the plague. The sparse red and brown set is both striking and evocative. That such a gripping story could be compacted into a one-act play is a notable achievement.
Seven Spots on the Sun is at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, New York City.
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