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Death & the Maiden

Armidale Playhouse - August 2000

Directed by Astrid Blake

Produced by Marney Tilley

By Ariel Dorfman


It is the early 1990's. The fascist military Junta in Chile has been ousted, democracy has been restored, and the country's leaders are grappling with the reconciliation process. Into the home of one such man, Gerardo Escobar, late at night, comes a friendly stranger who has rendered assistance with Gerardo's flat tyre. It is a jovial, friendly scene - one human being helping another. But Gerardo's wife, Paulina, has eavesdropped on the conversation, and recognised the voice of the stranger as that of the doctor who was present at (and possibly participated in) her rape and torture at the hands of the Regime, 15 years earlier.

So begins Ariel Dorfman's very fine play, one of the strongest and most confronting dramas of the decade; it raises many issues: human rights, the nature of revenge, trust between a man and a woman, the good of a whole nation, and whether anything else is needed to redress a wrong, apart from "I'm sorry''.

A stunning movie was made of this play, starring Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver and Stewart Wilson. Of course, the "Death and the Maiden" of the title refers to the famous string quartet by Schubert, played by the doctor during torture sessions.


Julie Collins, Ken Fraser, Brendan Pascoe


Director: Astrid Blake
Producer: Marney Tilley
Set Design: Lenore Crocker

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