Wed 23-Sat 26 March

Chapter, Cardiff

The timing is impeccable. Just one month after Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, South Wales Theatre Collective prepare to put on their adaptation of Death and the Maiden, a tense moral thriller by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman. Fittingly, this is a play about anywhere that’s moved into a democracy and it explores the personal and emotional repercussions that reverberate after political organisations drastically shift.

When her husband brings a new acquaintance back to the couple’s beach hut, Paulina Salas is convinced that this visitor was the man who abused her under the old regime. Plagued by echoes from the past, she fights to persuade her husband to believe her and to obtain a confession from the guest.

The play takes three very convincing characters, and extends their roles for a larger discussions of place and politics. Functioning both as a self-contained story and a wide commentary on society, the play highlights the irrelevance of a definite outcome that proves the visitor innocent or guilty. ‘You’ve got be careful with things like that.’ explains director Jamie Daniel Lee. ‘You’re dealing with a situation that has occurred; you don’t want to belittle it with a tick in the box’. In this way, the work aims to bring in the integrity of the audience. As Lee articulates, ‘If the audience believe one-hundred percent that the visitor is guilty, we’ve kind of failed’.

With a title taken from the classical piece that plays such a big part in this work, it’s not surprising that live music will be played throughout Death and the Maiden. Yet rather than lead the audience to certain conclusions, music has a bitter-sweet function throughout this production as it takes Paulina Salas’ complicated love of classical music and weaves it around the play. As diegetic and non-diegetic music combine to weave a web of passion and entrapment, audience members will be further encouraged to make up their own minds.

South Wales Theatre Collective will be donating £1 per ticket to Amnesty International Wales, a charity with a long tradition of working with countries that have been through experiences evident in the play.

Tickets: £12/£10/£8. Info: 029 2031 1050 /

first published in Buzz Magazine

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