Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Death and the Maiden

I will admit to being a teensy bit apprehensive about spending Valentine's Day evening at an intense play about dictatorship and torture and revenge. But despite the tough subject matter, the Torch Theater/Gremlin Theatre production of Death and the Maiden at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage is a highly entertaining evening.

Honestly, I didn't know much about the play going in. I would see just about anything that featured these three performers. Peter Christian Hansen and Stacia Rice have done impressive work with their respective theaters (Gremlin and Torch) as well as on other stages around the Twin Cities. And Craig Johnson has played on many of the area's smaller stages, always impressively. As directed by David Mann, these performers make the most of this tension-filled play.

The story takes place in an unnamed country emerging from years of dictatorship. Gerardo, a lawyer, has car trouble and gets a lift from a friendly stranger. But when Dr. Miranda comes back, Gerardo's wife, Paulina, is sure she recognizes the voice of the man who tortured her 15 years earlier. The scenes that follow are a power struggle between the three. It's intense stuff, but riveting. At an hour and 45 minutes, the two acts seem to go by much faster. Michael Hoover's set design, beautifully lit by Paul Epton, grounds the play in reality, aided by C. Andrew Mayer's sound design and costumes by Andrea Gross. This is just a wonderful production of a really interesting play, and a great chance to see three terrific actors doing great work. See it if you can!