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June 2, 2017
Review: Seven Spots on the Sun

In Seven Spots on the Sun, playwright Martín Zimmerman shows he has no time for subtlety; he names his prophet-like hero after the biblical figure who led the Exodus, has the sun communicate a damning message to the humans below, uses plague to capture the notion of collective trauma, and refuses to give his Latin American location the gift of specificity because it could very well represent anywhere from Venezuela to Argentina. Yes, Zimmerman has no regard for subtlety but judging from the emotional punch that is his play, and how it ponders on the cruelty of military regimes and social injustice in Latin America, the question should be why would he try to sugar it down through nuance?

When the play begins we meet Moisés (Rey Lucas) a village doctor who has secluded himself and chosen to stop treating patients after his wife Belén was abducted and murdered by the military. But as fate would have it, Moisés is the only person capable of healing a mysterious ailment killing children and babies. People from all over the country come in pilgrimage to beg the good doctor to heal them, but as Moisés grapples with this strange gift he wonders if he has a moral duty to help the people who allowed the military to take over and kill his wife.

The question at the center of the play then is: do we really have to move on? At a time when anger and violence seem to be on everyone’s mind, Seven Spots on the Sun can’t help but feel like a mirror into our own decay. Zimmerman is too clever a writer to speechify or recur to didactic methods to tell us what to think, or who to root for, all the characters in his play are as horrible as they are beautiful. Zimmerman gives audiences the gift of making up their own minds, which might make some feel like the play is betraying them, but for others it will be what sets this apart from other works which have romanticized Latin America to the point of Disneyfication. Zimmerman has more questions than he has answers, and not only is that fair, it’s absolutely necessary.

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Written by: Jose Solis
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