BWW Reviews: The Matrix Theatre's DEATH AND THE MAIDEN an Intense Experience
The Matrix Theatre Company opened their latest season with Ariel Dorfman's play, DEATH AND THE Maiden. The emotional play is uncomfortable to watch with intense subject matter of political torture, but worth the experience. The talented cast brings the dynamic characters to life and really makes the audience think about the moral dilemma of right and wrong.
DEATH AND THE Maiden's three-person cast are strong as a whole and separately. Each one brings a special emotional intensity to the production and really makes the audience feel for their character.
Karen Kron returns to the Michigan stage in this production and really proves what a skilled actress she is. Her character of Paulina Salas is on the brink of two emotions at every moment in the production and constantly allows the vulnerability of her to break through. Her choices that she makes through her acting really helps to emphasize the horrors that Paulina has faced and how those horrors have affected her daily life.
Gerardo Escobar, the husband of Paulina, is played by Partick Loos. His portrayal of him is honest and really shows how much the man cares for his wife. Paulina has the demons in her life, but Loos does a great job of showing how they have affected Gerardo and made him the man that he is.
Samer Ajluni plays Dr. Roberto Miranda and does a fantastic job expressing the emotions of his character through facial expressions and actions. The smaller size of the Matrix Theatre really adds to the show because it allows the audience to see Ajluni eyes, which are filled with emotion and a fierce intensity that bring his character to life. His deliverance of his characters lines are impressive because they make such a believable impact that the audience cannot help but feel for him.
Director Kate Peckham did a brilliant job with the use of the space and movement of the characters. The entire theatre is used as the stage and the off-stage action is just as effective as what is in front of the audience. The use of sound effects and minimal set and props help the show focus on the characters with their actions and words. The lighting is also worth mentioning because lighting designer Jarrett Thomas did a fantastic job with it. The tones and high lights really help make certain scene more influential and poetic, while the ambient lighting makes the audience feel like they are actually at a house on the beach.
DEATH AND THE Maiden is not an easy show to experience because the subject matter, but it is a brutally honest show about the political torture and the effects it has on the victims and people in their lives. But it is a show that worth experiencing, especially with this wonderful cast that takes on this intensely difficult and emotional show.