Death of the Maiden: Review

The Drama Barn is a venue that makes the most of its space. Its size means it can’t rely on flashy scenery, so puts the play, the acting and directing in the spotlight – which is arguably where it should be. Details, such as using lighting offstage to indicate a car pulling up and white tiles on the floor as representative of the stage, are necessary to dispel reality and draw you into this Unnamed Latin American Country, but they don’t distract you from the real focus of the play.

From the onset, tension is clear on stage. A marriage fraught with inferences of infidelity, stress and mistrust place the audience in a scene they can understand but as the play unfolds, this marriage begins to stand for a much bigger anxiety and mistrust, suffered by the population of the Unnamed Latin American Country.

The play antagonises themes of trust, justice, and confession, expressed on a public level between the Doctor and Paulina, and on a private level between Paulina and her husband, Gerardo. The two levelled pitch is necessary when addressing such a potent and politically laden topic as democracy after dictatorship. The private aspect allows an audience, with no real understanding of the hardships faced under such a regime, to access and relate to the emotions this country’s people felt: vulnerability, distrust, vengeful, uncertain but also united.

With only three roles, the weight of the play lays very heavily on the actors, all of whom carried it splendidly. No actor had an easy character history to convey: be it the did-he-didn’t-he-rapist-Doctor, the victim of the potentially-guilty-potentially-innocent-Doctor, or the husband trying to forget what happened to the woman he loved. With so many emotions up in the air, it is easy to want to lay blame with at least one character, but the ambiguity was played so well that, although I wanted to believe she was right, I couldn’t forget the niggle that said perhaps, perhaps he was telling the truth.


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