Playwright Dorfman puts a face on torture

October 29, 2006|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,[SUN THEATER CRITIC]

Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden -- about a confrontation between a former political prisoner and the man she believes to have been her torturer -- quickly emerged as one of the most widely produced new plays after its 1991 world premiere in London. More than 50 productions sprang up in Germany alone. Glenn Close and Gene Hackman starred in the 1992 Broadway production; Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley were in the 1994 Roman Polanski movie.

After Sept. 11, when terrorism and torture became pressing issues for Americans, the playwright expected Death and the Maiden to undergo a resurgence in this country. But the production opening at Center Stage on Wednesday is the first major regional theater mounting since Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida and Abu Ghraib became part of our common parlance.

DEATH AND THE MAIDEN / / In previews; opens Wednesday / / Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. / / 410-332-0033 or centerstage.org

Ariel Dorfman

Born:

May 6, 1942, in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Education:

University of Chile, master's degree equivalent, 1965; University of California at Berkeley, research scholar, 1968-1969

Selected works:

Nonfiction - How to Read Donald Duck (1975), Heading South, Looking North (1998), Other Septembers, Many Americas (2004); Fiction -The Last Song of Manuel Sendero (1987), The Nanny and the Iceberg (1999), Blake's Therapy (2001); Plays - Widows (1987), Death and the Maiden (1991), Purgatorio (2005), The Other Side (2005), Picasso's Closet (2006)

Current position:

Walter Hines Page Research Professor of Literature, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Family:

Married Angelica Malinarich, 1966; two sons, Rodrigo and Joaquin

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