Entertainment Theatre Purgatoria at the Baxter

Purgatoria at the Baxter

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Photo of actor Dawid Minaar
Ariel Dorfman’s riveting play Purgatorio deals with a Man and a Woman in purgatory - a stark and soulless waiting room.

Their identities are fluid and as the drama unfolds it emerges that they are each other’s interrogators, searching for clemency and contrition. Their fates are bound together by a horrific past, and freedom depends on their willingness to sacrifice themselves, each for the other. Trapped in the resonance of their actions and with the roles reversed, the inquisition and the healing begins as each of the characters search for understanding, forgiveness and redemption.

“I had been wondering for a long time about the terrible things we humans do to one another, and how - indeed if - there can be some sort of reparation,” explains Dorfman. “I particularly loved the challenge of writing a piece that transpires in the landscape of the mutual mind, meaning that what we are seeing is the place where two souls meet and fight and discover they will always be lonely and, simultaneously, that they will always have the other close by, waiting, twinned for eternity.”

Last year Dorfman attended a performed reading of Purgatorio at the Baxter Theatre Centre as part of his address at the Eighth Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. Time magazine has named him a “literary grandmaster” and Newsweek called him “one of the greatest living Latin American novelists”.

Director Clare Stopford brings together two of South Africa’s top actors - Dawid Minnaar, well-known for his roles in the popular television soapies Binnelanders and Sewende Laan and Terry Norton who was recently seen in the block-buster movie Spud.

Dorfman is a Chilean citizen who was forced into exile in the USA after the 1973 coup that overthrew Allende, he is an acclaimed novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, journalist and political commentator. Well-known for plays such as Death and the Maiden, Reader and Widows, he is currently a professor at Duke University in North Carolina.

This contemporary and eternal treatment of Dorman’s two-hander was inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Jason and Medea.

Venue: Baxter Theatre, Main Rd, Rondebosch. Tel: 083 915 8000.
Time: Mon - Fri @ 8:00pm
Price: R100 - R130
Performances: 7 - 30 July 2011
Genre: Drama

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