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Death and the Maiden Ends Successful Run

The Wabash Theater Department will be opening up its spring season with a chilling and relentlessly-paced play that explores intrigue, memory, and humanity.

The explosively provocative “Death and the Maiden” opens Wednesday, February 21, and runs through Saturday, February 24, with performances at 8 p.m. in Ball Theater.

The award-winning drama is a chilling not-quite-true tale of intrigue, memory, and humanity.

Tickets are free and can be reserved through the Fine Arts Center Box Office.

Written by Ariel Dorfman, “Death and the Maiden” is set in an unnamed country that has just emerged from a totalitarian dictatorship. It focuses on the story of Paulina, a former political prisoner, who finds herself face to face with the man she believes was her captor.

Director Heidi Winters Vogel advised that the award-winning drama is not appropriate for children, as viewers will witness strong language, theatrical gun use, threats of violence, and stories of torture and trauma including sexual violence.

“Audiences can expect to be deeply moved, but also challenged about how we envision justice,” Winters Vogel said. “Paulina has never seen the man’s face who abused her, but she’s absolutely certain it’s him based on his voice. And it’s really hard for us as viewers to know the truth as both of the men in the play—her own husband and the man accused—treat her as if she’s crazy. So, do we believe her? How do we get justice in that kind of a situation?

“She’s been traumatized by this for years, and she finally takes control and says, ‘I’m going to advocate for myself.’ But the end of the play doesn’t give you a clear answer about how the characters end up and what actions are made,” she continued. “What’s important is how you as the audience are grappling with the ideas of justice, reliability of witnesses, and listening to victims.”

The cast of “Death and the Maiden” includes Robin Vogel, a 2023 Albright College graduate, as Paulina; Alex Schmidt ’27 as Gerardo (husband); and Preston Parker ’26 as Roberto. Kade Irwin ’25 is the production stage manager.

The production includes scenic design by David BW Vogel, costume design by Andrea Bear, and lighting design by Bailey L. Rosa.

Performing in a play that examines the darker side of humanity was challenging for the Wabash student actors and her own daughter, Winters Vogel said, but it was also an educational experience.

“We handled the story very carefully,” she said. “That’s something I really love about theater—the ability for us to tell stories that make big issues, personal.”

The cast of “Death and the Maiden” includes Robin Vogel as Paulina; Alex Schmidt ’27 as Gerardo; and Preston Parker ’26 as Roberto.

The cast was given “tools for separating themselves from the characters,” and practiced checking in and checking out of rehearsals where they would openly reflect on how they were feeling about the production and in their personal lives. They also went through an extensive process of consent training, identifying where it was OK for another actor to physically touch.

“There’s a lot of little rituals and routines that we go through to protect them while also honoring these people’s stories,” Winters Vogel said, “because even though this one is made up, there’s a likelihood lots of people have experienced such trauma.”

Winters Vogel is very proud of the time and care the cast has put in over the past several weeks to perfect the production and encourages the community to come support “Death and the Maiden.”