Of vengeance, plague, and war: Seven Spots on the Sun

The UI Theater Department will stage Seven Spots on the Sun, a contemporary play dealing the struggles of a Latin American country.


Michael Guhin

Characters Monica (Luli Gomez Teruel) and Luis (Anthonie Juarez) meet on stage and share a few passionate embraces at a rehearsal of Seven Spots on the Sun by the University of Iowa Theater Department.

Sarah Stortz, Arts Reporter

In the village of San Isidro, a plague breaks out without the doctor present. Moises, the town’s previous physician, has refused to examine patients since tragedy struck him following a civil war.

As the town remains in crisis, Moises discovers how he can possibly save others while confronting his past. With events continuing to unfold, the play ultimately asks the question of how vengeance can shape the path of one’s life.

The University of Iowa Theater Department will present Martin Zimmerman’s Seven Spots On The Sun beginning tonight in the Theater Building’s Thayer Theater.

Director John Cameron said he decided to produce the show because of his background in Latinx theater. Cameron spent a portion of his life in Central America and can speak Spanish fluently.

One of the mains reasons the script appealed to Cameron was how it dealt with those struggling in crisis.

“It puts people into extreme situations,” he said. “I found it be very theatrical, and I wanted to play with that with our students.”

The cast has a mixture of graduate and undergraduate students, allowing a multitude of perspectives to the show.

Luli Gomez Teruel, a M.F.A. student in acting, plays role of Monica, a young mother swept by the conflict of the country’s war. At the beginning the show, Monica is newlywed, young woman with an optimistic outlook on life.

Michael Guhin
Eugenio (Jose Alfredo Elizardo) narrates the play to the audience at a rehearsal of Seven Spots on the Sun by the University of Iowa Theater Department.

Teruel said one of the main reasons she was interested in the show was being able to work under Cameron’s direction, because he’s currently her acting teacher.

“He’s such an amazing teacher that I wanted to see how he was as a director,” Teruel said. “He never stopped pushing us to be the best actors we can be during rehearsal.”

As the show transitions through the story, Monica develops into a fiercely protective mother who’s not afraid to share her mind. Throughout the show, the characters lose a great deal, whether they’re physical items or losing themselves.

While developing her character, Teruel said she could relate to her protective nature, having young nephews and nieces who she would do anything for.

“I have a few monologues that are very poetic in the way they’re written,” Teruel said. “It’s nice to have to have a contemporary play that also uses heightened language.”

Having an intricate style, Cameron said, one of the most challenging aspects of the show was the symbolism Zimmerman incorporated into the script and finding ways to make those accessible to the audience.

UI junior Alexis Healey plays one of the townspeople, who work in ensemble to observe the actions of the story.

“We’re always connected to what’s happening, either witnessing or explaining what’s happening,” she said. “I think it’s really important for the town because it shows all the people and how they’re all interrelated.”

She said she was also fond of the script, shedding light on a diverse number of people.

“I think it does a really beautiful job at humanizing all kinds of people and what they go through,” she said.

Cameron acknowledged that the content can be shocking, but it also intends to lift the audience’s spirits.

“It’s a play for all people, everywhere,” he said. “It’s dealing with our morality, our sense of justice, our honor as human beings, and how we care for each other.”