Thursday 27th April to Saturday 29th April and Tuesday 2nd May to Saturday 8th May 1995
Directed by Frank Lyons
A stunning moral thriller about torture and trust, rape and revenge, forgiveness and silence. Bench Theatre presents the first amateur performance of this work.
'Death and The Maiden' is a play in three acts which premiered in English in 1990 with Juliet Stephenson, Bill Patterson and Michael Byrne. In 1991, it was performed on Broadway with Glenn Close, Peter Dreyfuss and Gene Hackman and was released as a Roman Polanski film.
It is set in the present and the place is indeterminate but could be any country that has given itself democratic government just after a long period of dictatorship. Paulina Salas is a former political prisoner who had been raped by her captors (led by a sadistic doctor whose face she never saw). Years later, after the repressive regime has fallen, Paulina lives in an isolated country house with her husband, Gerardo Escobar. When Gerardo returns after visiting the president, he suffers a flat tyre. A stranger named Dr Miranda stops to assist him and drives him home. Paulina recognises Miranda as the rapist, and takes matters in to her own hands in order to get justice for herself.
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Paulina Salas||Jude Salmon|
|Gerardo Escobar, her husband, a lawyer||Peter Corrigan|
|Doctor Roberto Miranda||Pete Woodward|
|Stage Manager||Sally Hartley|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Lindy Nettleton|
|Lighting Design||Steve Wilkins|
|Set Design||David Penrose|
|Set Construction||Wanda Barnes |
|Publicity Materials||Les Lyons|
Ariel Dorfman began exploring the dramatic situation that was to become Death and the Maiden whilst General Pinochet was still the dictator of Chile. The play was eventually written and first performed after Chile has returned to democracy in 1990. Although the events of the play focus on the lives of three individuals they provide a parable for any society experiencing the uneasy transition from dictatorship to democracy, corruption to justice, secrecy to openness. As Dorfman points out in his afterword to the play script, the important issues for any society that has suffered enormous conflict and pain, involve deeply psychological and difficult questions.
Dorfman has thus given us a play for our time that addresses problems that are found all over the world. It is the most performed play in the English theatre at this moment. This is not surprising given the extraordinary social changes we are experiencing, when there is so much hope for the future and so much confusion about what that future may bring.