Monday, May 20, 2013

The Question, May 20, 2013

This Play Compelled...
by Estelle Rosen

Olivia Blocker is a third-year McGill student graduating in May 2013 with a degree in English Literature (major) and Russian Culture (minor). She has worked in seven different theatrical productions this year holding an array of different positions. Her recent credits include: costume designer for Waiting for Godot (Players), Timon of Athens and Based on a True Story (Tuesday Night Cafe); a witch in Macbeth (Players); set builder and sound board operator for The Revenger’s Tragedy (Moyse Hall); and sound designer for Inherit the Wind (Players). She makes her directorial debut with Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden.

CHARPO: Why this  play?

BLOCKER:  Death and the Maiden continues to be a socially and politically relevant play that maintains wider appeal due to its intensely dramatic, yet accessible revenge narrative. The play follows the story of Paulina Salas who finds the doctor who she believes raped and tortured her 10 years previously; she overpowers him and attempts to force him to confess.

Every year there are more and more stories of survivors of sexual assault being blamed and silenced. Just this year in the highly publicized Stubenville rape trial, a young girl was shamed and sent death threats because she dared to speak out about her experiences. This play remains relatable as the female protagonist takes justice into her own hands and reclaims her voice: "It’s been years since I murmured even a word… but I’m not dead, I thought I was but I’m not and I can speak, damn it" (Paulina Salas).

As an Outreach volunteer at the Sexual Assault Centre of McGill Student Society (SACOMSS), the content of the play and the disturbing parallels that remain between contemporary Western culture, and a post-Pinochet Chile were particularly relevant to me personally. My interest in both theatre in general and the content of the play compelled me to direct, what I think to be, this very important work. Death and the Maiden presents a significant and socially relevant story of silencing, while maintaining intrigue and themes of moral ambiguity and justice.

Runs May 29-31 McGill Players' Theatre

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