Ariel Dorfman’s Purgatorio

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When a person opts for revenge they dig two graves.

This short line sets the tone for this collaboration between 5pound theatre and Attic Erratic, working together to bring Ariel Dorfman’s Purgatorio to Richmond’s The Owl and the Pussycat.

Purgatorio is a formidable work of drama penned by a theatrical master of the modern age Ariel Dorfman. This Chillien playwright, whose work often premiers on Broadway, is perhaps best known for his 1990 work Death and the Maiden, which was later turned into a film by Roman Polanski.

5pound theatre and Attic Erratic are bringing this play to Melbourne with a dedicated and fearless group of theatre makers at the helm. Starring Freya Pragt and Jason Cavanagh, teamed with award winning director, Celeste Cody who is in charge of bringing this technically challenging and intensely dramatic piece of theatre into being.

Lights up and a woman sits in a room answering questions from a man. What follows is a roller coaster of emotions, a dark forest full of twists and turns, murder, love, revenge and betrayal; nothing is what you think it is and nothing will ever be the same again.

In honesty, the less said about the content of the play the better. And no, that’s not because it’s not worth talking about, far from it. To go in with a blank canvas, and let the actors pull your opinion from one stance to the other with their powerful performances makes it all the more intense.

The staging is simple, yet incredibly effective. As is the costume and lighting. Understated but compelling.

The performances are brilliant. They are raw and real, gripping and moving. The play itself is an exploration of some of our most secret fears and both actors portray them to a tee. We can see echoes of ourselves in the characters, of our worst traits, and we recoil at the recognition.

It is an exploration of character, of sin, of repentance and salvation. It is energetic, profound and fierce. It is a great play. It is definitely worth going to see.

The Owl and the Pussycat
34 Swan Street Richmond.
Running until Saturday 2nd August
Tickets: www.5pound.com.au

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