Firstly, many thanks for the very kind gift you gave me in December, and my thanks to for the contributions made by Margaret and Isobel towards the edibles!
I hope you all had a very happy Christmas and that 2017 has started well for you.
My plans for being prepared for January have been thwarted, as I decided that the play I had proposed, Present Laughter, by Noel Coward, was actually not great shakes! Indeed, it was a wee bit dull!
And so I have chosen a play that is quite the other extreme of Coward!
Death and the Maiden is a dark 1990 play by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman. Dorfman was exiled for many years when Chile was under the dictatorship of General Pinochet, whose regime and the subsequent move towards democracy strongly influence this work - although the country in the play is never named. This play has been performed world-wide, including in Chile, and adapted into a film by Roman Polanski.
When Dr. Roberto Miranda enters the lives of lawyer, Gerardo Escobar, and his wife, Paulina Salas, he raises memories that Paulina has hidden for many years.
This is not a fun start to the year! But I believe it is a good play which, despite its sometimes forthright language, will get us all thinking and talking. The themes of the play are many:
- Justice v Peace
- Civilisation v Depravity
- Past v Future
- Cycle of Violence
- Lies or Truth?
- Guilt or Innocence?
Schubert: Death and the Maiden
Schubert's 1817 quartet is referenced in the play and this piece, based on a poem by Matthias Claudius, is strongly linked with death. The theme is a death knell that accompanies the song about the terror and comfort of death.
"Oh! leave me! Prithee, leave me! thou grisly man of bone!
For life is sweet, is pleasant.
Go! leave me now alone!
Go! leave me now alone!"
"Give me thy hand, oh! maiden fair to see,
For I'm a friend, hath ne'er distress'd thee.
Take courage now, and very soon
Within mine arms shalt softly rest thee!"
You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fXYjSmR6Bw