Exploring the concept of revenge and the capacity of human beings to execute it.
Drama inspired by the political landscapes of a given time has the capacity to cut across geographical and cultural divides. Such plays have been known to surgically delve into the intricacies of the impact of political tensions on relationships and communities. Death and the Maiden is set in the 1970s and 1980s, but continues to resonate in many parts of the world in light of recent or ongoing political changes and upheavals in countries like Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Iran.
Argentine-Chilean novelist and playwright Ariel Dorfman wrote Death and the Maiden after a visit to his homeland, Chile, in 1990. It was a time when the country was going through the after-effects of Pinochet’s dictatorship. The production premiered at London’s Royal Court in 1991. After a successful debut at Broadway, Roman Polanski directed the film version in 1994.
Death and the Maiden explores the concept of revenge and the capacity of human beings to execute it if they so desired. The lead character, Paulina Salas, chooses to bring about justice in her own living room. The play also underlines the fact that there is always a price for political change and sometimes individuals, innocent or otherwise, have to pay that price. Dorfman has said, “Pinochet’s body is probably going to rot long before his ideas do.”
Ashish Sen takes up the director’s mantle to revisit Death and the Maiden, which won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 1992. The play throws up questions of political as well as personal significance, like ‘Do we truly forgive and forget?’ and ‘Can we overcome our past and obliterate it from our memory, or are we shackled by it forever?’ Sen says, “These questions are not easy to answer, but they provide clues as to why the relationship between truth and reconciliation continues, and will perhaps continue, to be uneasy.” Arundhati and Jagdish Raja will play Paulina Salas and Gerardo Escobar, while Salmin Sheriff takes on the role of Roberto Miranda. The play is the second in Season 2012 lineup at Jagriti.
Death and the Maiden
When: Until September 23 @ 8.00 p.m. (except Monday), 3 .00 and 6.30 p.m. on Sundays
Where: Jagriti Theater, Varthur Main Road, Whitefield, Bangalore