Henley Street Brings Death and the Maiden To Gottwald Playhouse
Under the direction of former VCU professor Gary Hopper, Death and the Maiden will tackle some important personal and sociopolitical themes including torture and revenge. The play raises questions involving the nature of people and if a cycle of torture can be stopped once it has started. Although it does touch on some dark topics, the play is very much invested in the character’s development through exciting personal journeys of realization and redemption.
Death and the Maiden centers around the story of Paulina Salas (played by Katrinah Lewis) and her struggles with being tortured emotionally, physically and spiritually. The plot follows Paulina as she tries to come to terms with her tumultuous past. Her goal is to maintain a “normal life” and have peace of mind.
However, those terrible memories are rekindled when Paulina’s husband Gerardo (David Clark) brings home a guest, Dr. Roberto Miranda (Christopher Dunn). Paulina believes that Dr. Miranda is the man responsible for her suffering and she finds that she can no longer suppress her emotions. Paulina interrogates Dr. Miranda and he refuses to confess to any of her accusations. From here Paulina wrestles with how to handle the reappearance of her torturer.
Expect Death and the Maiden to be very intimate. With only three characters to work with, director Gary Hopper has been able to have more “one on one” time with the cast. When we sat down with Hopper he explained, “The journey that you take with a small cast is subtextually deeper than that of a large cast.” It seems appropriate considering the play dares to explore dense emotional themes.
Hopper admits he had some initial concerns and said “the play is so complex emotionally… I thought: I hope I have enough time with these actors.” But Hopper believes in his cast because of their experience and training. Hopper reassures us in saying, “They [the actors] have moved along so fast, so we’re at a good point.” Coincidentally, all three performers had been former students of Hopper at VCU.
In our interview, Hopper explained his motives by saying, “I’m not in it [to make] any money,” quality is more of his concern than anything. He stressed his approach to directing involves striving to perfecting the actor’s craft. He wants to push beyond complacency. The production’s final design was envisioned with no budget constraints in mind, in hopes that the play could reach its full potential. “I really enjoy directing, not only as a teacher but as an artist says Hopper.
Death and the Maiden’s final iteration is looking to be a very polished and detailed piece of work. The production aims to realize the playwright’s vision. Despite the play being written in the 90’s the themes are still relevant today. Hopper wants Death and the Maiden to stick with the audience. He hopes that people will walk away with a different perspective or perhaps even come to their own personal realization.
Take part in the catharsis starting February 6th through March 1st at Gottwald Playhouse at Richmond CenterStage.
Hey I’m Joe. I’m an intern at RVA Mag and GayRva for the spring 2014 session. I’m currently enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University in the creative advertising program. My goals for my career are simple; job satisfaction. I want to be part of work that I can feel good about. I’ve lived in Virginia my entire life and have been living in richmond for about 3 years. I’d consider myself a media junkie. Whether I’m sitting in a bookstore with a pile of magazines or scouring the internet, I’m always looking for something to spark my interest.
Subtlety would have better suited the tone of the play.February 27, 2017
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