By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
UWPlatteville Death and the Maiden starts Feb. 20
Placeholder Image

The UW–Platteville Department of Performing and Visual Arts–Theatre and Pioneer Players will present Argentine–Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman’s riveting psychological drama “Death and the Maiden” in the Center for the Arts Theatre Wednesday, Feb. 20 through Sunday, Feb. 24.

Tickets for the production, which is recommended for mature audiences only, are available through the University Box Office, 342-1298,

The production opens with a special $3 Benefit Wednesday performance on Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. All proceeds go to the Platteville Food Pantry and Emergency Medical Service.

Regular performances, with ticket prices ranging from $5 to $9, continue Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 21–23 at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23–24 at 2 p.m. Thursday’s performance includes a dessert reception after the show.

The play follows Paulina Salas, a former political prisoner living in a country that has recently transitioned from a dictatorship to a democracy. When Paulina recognizes her captor and rapist, Dr. Roberto Miranda, after he unexpectedly comes to the aid of her human rights lawyer husband, Gerardo Escobar, she takes him captive, with plans to bring him to justice. Gerardo, unconvinced of Miranda’s guilt, agrees to defend him. But as more details emerge, it becomes more and more difficult to determine who is telling the truth and who is not.

Cast members include UW–Platteville students Kim Cordova of Waunakee as Paulina; Elliott Frieden of Moline, Ill., as Roberto; and Quincy Bufkin of Milwaukee as Gerardo. This play also marks Bufkin’s 14th performance on campus.

Dr. David Schuler, UW–Platteville associate professor of theatre and the play’s director, said he is excited about this production for two reasons: it continues the theatre program’s emphasis on addressing social justice issues through performance, and for the first time since he joined UW–Platteville in 2006, the audience seating will all be above the action.

Jeffrey Strange, UW–Platteville assistant professor of theatre and the university’s resident designer and technical director, has transformed the black box CFA Theatre into an elevated arena arrangement so the audience will view the play at balcony level on all four sides. “Found” mirrors of all shapes and sizes attached to the fronts of each seating platform will allow viewers an additional perspective on the play.

“I encourage people to come to see it just for the way they’ll be viewing the play,” said Schuler. “I’m excited to see how the audience reacts. They are going to be in an uncomfortable situation, voyeuristically looking down on the action. Will that engage them more or remove them from it? I’m interested to find out how it changes their experience of seeing a play.”

Schuler added that by incorporating the mirrors, he feels Dorfman is asking the audience to look at themselves, how they behave and how traumatic events may affect their view or memory of a situation. He asks, “Is revenge the right course of action if you are not absolutely sure about something?”

The play also uses strong language to deal with heavy subjects and asks the actors to put themselves in uncomfortable and challenging situations. Combining the intense subject matter with no intermission puts unusual physical and emotional demands on the actors, Schuler said, because two of the three characters are always on stage, and most times, all three.

“I think it is an extraordinarily powerful play,” said Schuler. “It deals with scars and how certain scars never heal, and it also looks at marriage and what the strains of political torture and interrogation do to it. You see that with Paulina’s relationship with the doctor and her relationship with her husband.
<!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1107305727 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} -->

Post-show discussions with Dr. Melissa Gormley, UW–Platteville associate professor of history, and Dr. Chris Schulenburg, UW–Platteville assistant professor of Spanish, will follow the Friday and Saturday evening performances. Both professors specialize in Latin American studies and will react and give insight to the historical background of the play. 

Additional UW–Platteville students involved in the production include Pearl Rose Balch of Brodhead as costume designer; Jarrod Diehm of Grinnell, Iowa, as assistant director/stage manager; and Lucas Pawelski of Stevens Point as lighting designer.