People’s Branch Theatre offers the political thriller Death and the Maiden

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O&AN and People’s Branch Theatre want to send you and a guest to see Death and the Maiden at the historic Belcourt Theatre. All you have to do to enter is send an email to [email protected] with "Death" in the subject line. Be sure to include a day-time phone number in your entry. For more information about Death and the Maiden or about People’s Branch, check out www.peoplesbranch.org. Good luck!

More about Death and the Maiden…

Branch Theatre amps things up with the political thriller Death and the Maiden by Chilean playwright and activist Ariel Dorfman.

Set in an unnamed country emerging from a totalitarian dictatorship, the play explores the aftereffects of repression on hearts and souls. Believing that the good Samaritan who has just given her husband a ride home is the same man who tortured her, a woman ties the suspect to a chair and conducts her own interrogation, gun in hand. Her husband doesn’t know whether to believe his distraught wife or his persuasive new friend. This powerful play examines the need for justice as well as the cost of the relentless pursuit of vengeance, showing that some wounds may never heal.

The ensemble cast features Erin Whited as the embattled Paulina Escobar, Chip Arnold as her political husband Gerardo, and Buddy Raper as the enigmatic Dr. Roberto Miranda. Each of these actors has a career of distinction in Nashville, performing variously with every professional company in the city.

“This play has an extremely powerful resonance with current events,” says People’s Branch Artistic Director Ross Brooks. "While very clearly an indictment of the Pinochet regime and its tactics, the events of this play also parallel with the treatment of political prisoners the world over, and directly with the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the recent headlines regarding CIA interrogation techniques. Dorfman’s play is universal in that it speaks of the human cost of political actions, putting a face on those that are often left in the dark by sensationalist mass media, political propaganda and blind patriotism."

Brooks continues, "I chose this play not only because of its relevance to modern events but also because it’s wonderfully oblique and keeps the audience guessing exactly what is going to happen next. It’s a taut psychological thriller as well as a political statement, and it puts the burden of proof entirely in the hands of the audience.”

The production has received an overwhelming outpouring of support from the academic community of Vanderbilt University and is sponsored in part by the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies, The Vanderbilt Law School International Legal Studies Program, the Program in Jewish Studies and the Center for the Americas. In addition, the International Legal Studies Program will also host a special lunchtime panel discussion in conjunction with the show to discuss the political, legal and social aspects of the play.

Death and the Maiden is a powerful play that deals with the lingering trauma of rape and torture,” says Ted Fischer, director of the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Vanderbilt, “as well as the complicated moralities that emerge in the search for justice and retribution. Avoiding easy moralizations, the play forces the audience to reach its own conclusions. While dealing with the dark history of Chile, it also speaks forcefully to the sorts of moral dilemmas we face in the world today. More relevant than ever, Death and the Maiden should be required viewing for all who are concerned with terror and the human condition.”

"At the Center for the Americas, we believe that it is essential to for people in the U.S. to get a better understanding of both current and historical issues in the countries to the south of our borders," says Vera Kutzinski, the Martha Rivers Ingram Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Americas. "Literature always plays an important role in helping us grasp how people in other countries live under circumstances we imagine impossible for ourselves. Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden shows how lives are deformed and distorted under political dictatorships, and what freedom might mean in such a context. These are issues that concern all of us in the Americas and in the world today. The CFA applauds the People’s Branch Theater for bringing this play to Nashville."

Death and the Maiden runs Feb. 7 – 16, at the historic Belcourt Theatre in Hillsboro Village. Tickets are $18 for general admission and $12 for seniors or students with ID and can be purchased through the Belcourt box office by calling 615-846-3150 or online at www.belcourt.org.

For more information about Death and the Maiden or about People’s Branch, check out www.peoplesbranch.org or www.myspace.com/peoplesbranchtheatre.

This show is rated "R" for content and is not intended for children under the age of 17. It Contains adult situations and language. There will also be gun shots.