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By: Jun. 18, 2015
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Some plays maintain their relevance because some horrors never go away. Ariel Dorfman's captivating psychological thriller Death and the Maiden is one such work. Starring Susie Porter (Puberty Blues), Eugene Gilfedder (QTC's Macbeth) and Steve Mouzakis (MTC's The Cherry Orchard), this new co-production with Sydney Theatre Company opens on Thursday 23 July 2015 at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner before travelling to Sydney for a season at Wharf I Theatre.

Written in the wake of the Pinochet regime in Chile, Death and the Maiden won the 1992 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play and was performed at MTC the following year. Twenty years on, writing about its 2011 West End revival, Ariel Dorfman said, 'It happened yesterday but it could well be today... I can't help but ask if 20 years from now I will be writing this phrase all over again: this story happened yesterday, but it could well be today.'

Director Leticia Càceres said, 'I regard Death and the Maiden as part of my heritage, part of a dark past shared not only by a number of South American countries such as my homeland Argentina, but over and over again in so many places around the world. I am honoured to be able to share it with a new audience and demonstrate why this play is so powerful, and remains so tremendously important.'

Military rule is over and the new democracy looks towards a brighter future. But for victims of the old regime, such as Paulina, memories are a prison. Through months of pain and degradation she never saw her tormentor's face, but she heard his voice, calm yet menacing in her ear, a voice she will never forget. When her husband Gerardo invites a stranger back to their isolated beach house, she hears that voice again.

Ariel Dorfman has been called a literary grandmaster and one of the greatest living Latin American novelists. He is a Chilean-American author of fiction, plays, librettos, poems, essays and films in both Spanish and English. For Death and the Maiden he won the 1992 Olivier Award for Best New Play and in 2008 he penned the libretto for an operatic version of the play. Among his other plays are Reader, Widows, The Other Side, Purgatorio, and Picasso's Closet. Dorfman's fiction includes Mascara, Hard Rain, The Last Song of Manuel Sendero, Konfidenz, The Nanny and the Iceberg and The Burning City which was co-authored with his son Joaquin. A documentary based on his memoir, A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel, received numerous prizes and was short-listed for an Academy Award.

MTC Associate Director Leticia Cáceres has been lauded as one of the most exciting talents in the country. For MTC she has directed Birdland, The Effect, Cock, Constellations, Yellow Moon, Helicopter and Random (nominated for three Green Room Awards). She has also directed for Belvoir (Miss Julie and The Dark Room, nominated for seven Sydney Theatre Awards), La Mama (Tall Man), Creative Regions (Tales of the Underground), Queensland Theatre Company (The Orphanage Project, Far Away, and The Memory of Water), Sydney Opera House (Random, Hoods, and Children of the Black Skirt), La Boite Theatre/Brisbane Festival (Kingswood Kids), Arts Centre Melbourne, and Brisbane Powerhouse (Hoods and Children of the Black Skirt). She is the co-founder of nationally acclaimed independent theatre company RealTV whose seminal work Hoods won the 2009 Matilda Award for Best Independent Production. RealTV is currently under commission with Belvoir.


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