Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Theatre, Speech & Dance
Richard H. Palmer
This thesis examines José Rivera’s 1992 play Marisol as an apocalyptic and millennial text. The play responds to the cultural climate of America at the end of the twenty-first century, presenting a social critique by playing on the nation’s widespread premillennial anxieties and anticipations. By paralleling the play with the Christian Apocalypse found in the book of Revelation, Rivera further plays with the audience’s expectations, but ultimately rewrites the millennial narrative to emphasize human agency over divine intervention. This is characteristic of revolutionary millenarian movements, which seek to recreate the world when faced with situations of extreme social distress. In the end, Rivera remains ambivalent to the legitimacy of violent revolution, but encourages the audience to determine their own methods of achieving change. Any theatrical production of Marisol must maintain this balance of millennial transformation and individual reflection. By subverting cultural expectations and fashioning new millennial narratives, Rivera creates a unique form of revolutionary millenarianism encouraging the audience to enact significant, human-driven social change.
Turner, Rebecca A K, "'What Light. What Possibilities. What Hope." Revolutionary Millennialism in José Rivera's Marisol" (2014). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 105.
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