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  Death And The Maiden at Victory Gardens Theater - Biograph

Death And The Maiden

Victory Gardens Theater - Biograph
2433 N. Lincoln Ave Chicago

Ariel Dorfman's explosively provocative, award-winning drama is set in a rocky new democracy. Gerardo has just been chosen to head the commission that will investigate the crimes of the old regime when his car breaks down and he is picked up by a kind doctor. Sandra Oh (the award-winning star of ABC's Grey's Anatomy) plays Gerardo's wife, Paulina, who thinks she recognizes the doctor as the man who tormented her as she lay blindfolded in a military detention center years before. Death and the Maiden is a riveting, haunting play about revenge, trauma and forgiveness.

Thru - Jul 20, 2014

Price: $40-$70

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-871-3000

Running Time: 1hr, 30mins;no intermission

Victory Gardens Theater - Biograph Seating Chart

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  Death And The Maiden Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Dorfman structured his three-character play, which here co-stars Raul Castillo as the husband and John Judd as the unexpected guest, very much like a thriller. You could see that choice either as the work of a savvy theatrical craftsman or as a deal with the devil in order to raise consciousness. For sure, the tension implicit in "Death and the Maiden" (the gun, the mystery, the themes of sexualized revenge) helped get this never-dull play about this tough subject on Broadway (replete with Glenn Close, Richard Dreyfuss and Gene Hackman) and then made into a Roman Polanski movie. But viewed now, with our changed sensibilities about how these terrible things are discussed and dramatized, and perhaps a new resistance to the style of this play when it comes to such acts of sexual violence, there is a something of a disconnect."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...All three actors do everything that is called for, but in the end I felt little emotion for any of them. “Death and the Maiden” may take its title from a beautiful string quartet by Schubert, but the strings plucked here feel more like those in a political puppet show."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Not Recommended

"...The show was embarrassingly sloppy on opening night, with weirdly negligent blocking, loads (loads!) of dropped lines, pacing so far off that the performance went a half hour longer than expected, moments of downright inscrutability, and a rotating set by William Boles that looked cool but generated a distracting amount of noise. Raúl Castillo made a bewildering mess of Geraldo, Paulina's successful, supposedly sophisticated husband, turning him into a slow-witted naif. Worst of all, Oh played Paulina, unrelentingly, as a kind of mopey Medea, her face frozen in a slack version of the tragedy mask."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...He also understands that three people talking for 100 intermissionless minutes can swiftly grow visually and aurally fatiguing. William Boles' revolving beach house, allowing conversations to be conducted both indoors and out, introduces movement to the stage picture, as does Mikhail Fiksel's immersive soundscape, but it's the attention to subtext that Sandra Oh and John Judd exhibit that generates the necessary tension between Paulina and Roberto. ( Raul Castillo's Geraldo, except when the plot requires a show of anger, comes off as curiously apathetic, perhaps reflecting Paulina's subjective perception of her spouse. ) You may-or may not-go home contemplating the heavy burden of forging peace among the world's warring factions, but you won't find a more articulate presentation of the arguments than in this skillfully forged production."

Mary Shen Barnidge

Gapers Block - Recommended

"...The question the play asks us is: Should we seek justice -- or vengeance -- for crimes of the past or is it better to forgive and move on? Chay Yew's direction creates a moving and ambiguous answer. William Boles' beautifully designed rotating set is an important facet of the production. The music, Schubert's quartet, "Death and the Maiden," is almost a character in the play."
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Nancy Bishop

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Yet the three-person cast feels unbalanced (and not in the way that the panicking Miranda characterizes Paulina’s mental state). Oh, coming off her decade-long, Golden Globe–winning stint on Grey’s Anatomy, provides the star power, and she demonstrates a palpable stage presence, even if she doesn’t fully sell Paulina’s sudden empowerment."
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Kris Vire

ShowBizChicago - Recommended

"...Sandra Oh, fresh from her 10-year, Emmy-winning stint on Grey's Anatomy, is the show's anchor. Paulina is a jumble of hurt and pain and anger, allowing Oh to show her true versatility on the stage. We're rooting for her, even if we're doubtful of her true mental state. Castillo works Gerardo's political ambitions, but his lack of shock at his wife's actions-which put his hard-fought career in jeopardy- contributes to an overall lack of tension. Much of the play's midsection surrounds Paulina trying to convince Gerardo (and maybe herself) that her accused tormentor needs to be brought to justice. And Gerardo plays along."
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Melody Udell

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...Sandra Oh, perhaps best known as Dr. Cristina Yang in the television series "Grey's Anatomy" and for the film "Sideways," is magical as Paulina Salas, a woman who survived unjust imprisonment, torture and rape under the old regime of a South American republic - only to find her former tormentor in the affable fellow, indeed good Samaritan, now before her in her own home."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Oh's performance is excellent enough to carry this production a very long way-alone, it is enough to make this a recommended affair. But her burden is a heavy one, and she's given little help. The result is a just-decent production, and that's disappointing, because all of the ingredients were there for a great one."
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Paul Kubicki

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Sandra Oh’s powerful, nuanced and emotionally draining performance makes this play worth seeing. Too bad that playwright Ariel Dorfman left too much unresolved."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Oh is a terrific actress, but once the conflict is laid out, the plot is static, leaving nowhere to go with her honest and authentic range. Castillo has some fine fiery scenes, but the grey added to his temples reminds you that he is too young here. (He draws a different audience draw due to his recurring role on HBO’s hit gay series ‘Looking.’) Judd is fine, but never more threatening than a Sears’s catalogue. And that odd casting derails the whole affair, making Paulina’s rage seem totally of her own making."

David Zak

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...What makes a spellbinding mystery /thriller work is solid acting, solid directing an dof course a well written script. The technical aspects of the production. Lighting ( Jesse Klug), sound, (Mikhail Fiksel) and props (Jesse Gaffney) along with the set and fight Choreography (Ryan Bourque) made for a very realistic look at these characters, sort of like the “fly on the wall” looking in on someone else’s lives. It works!"
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...In a drama that feels far more contemporary and relevant than one might expect from a 14-year-old play, this production provides audiences with 90 minutes of unrelenting, nail-biting edginess. Set in an unnamed South American country (most likely the playwright’s native Chile), it presents a case for those haunted by past traumas and how they are to overcome the emotional terror that lives forever within their souls. The answer is ambiguous and leaves much for the audience to decide, but the journey is worth taking."

Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"...Sandra Oh goes a long way toward salvaging the evening with a stirring portrait of Paulina Salas, psychologically ravaged by memories of her horrific imprisonment. Oh rings a beautifully orchestrated set of emotional changes on her character, initially fretful and nervous but soon shifting to a relentless avenger when she gets Miranda in her clutches. Oh has a marvelously expressive face and even in her many silent moments on stage she registers a whole spectrum of conflicted feeling, from desperation to vindication. It’s a performance that confirms why there is nothing like live theater to connect a character with an audience."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Somewhat Recommended

"...DEATH AND THE MAIDEN is a work in progress. The story is there. It just needs to more specific in its vagueness and vague in some of its specifics. The wannabe thriller needs to be as sleekly constructed as the house Boles built."
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Katy Walsh

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