Ariel Dorfman

Arcola Theatre Presents

What if the person who holds the key to my salvation is the one I have hurt most in this world?

Are trust and redemption really possible after violence and betrayal? Purgatorio is an intense, poetic enquiry into the themes of forgiveness and retribution.

Arcola is proud to present a riveting new play by Ariel Dorfman, the acclaimed writer of Argentine-Chilean origin who has authored plays such as Reader, Widows, and Death and the Maiden, which was also turned into a film by Roman Polanski.

“Dorfman’s play is fascinating, brilliant, elegant, funny. He endows his woman protagonist with poetry worthy of Euripides. A subtle drama of give and take, take back and give back” Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Ariel Dorfman

Arcola Theatre Presents


‘Formidable dramatic intelligence’ **** Michael Billington, Guardian

‘Vivid, volatile performances’ The Stage

‘A clever post script to the Medea myth’ Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph

‘Andoh is terrific… intellectually alive, emotionally vital’ **** Benedict Nightingale, Times

This new production will be directed by Daniele Guerra, with sets and lighting by Charles Edwards and costumes by Jon Morrell, who jointly won an Olivier Award for JENUFA in 2006. The actors are Adjoa Andoh and Patrick Baladi. PURGATORIO is produced by the Arcola Theatre.

Daniele Guerra was born in Rome. After graduating there in psychology, he moved to London to train at the Royal College of Music. Daniele has recently directed a staging of DICHTERLIEBE by Schumann at the Arcola Theatre, DER FREISCHUTZ by Weber at the Opera de Rennes in France and L’OCCASIONE FA IL LADRO by Rossini at the Wexford Festival. He also translated and directed the play THE FAN by Goldoni at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and future plans include a staging of ACI, GALATEA E POLIFEMO by Handel for the London Handel Festival in March 2008.

Adjoa Andoh’s career has embraced theatre, television and film. Recent theatre roles include HIS DARK MATERIALS and STUFF HAPPENS at the National Theatre, PERICLES and THE DISPUTE at the Lyric, Hammersmith for Neil Bartlett and THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES at The Old Vic. Her television credits are too numerous to list, running the gamut from Colette in CASUALTY and Karen in EASTENDERS to Lady Macbeth.

Patrick Baladi has also acted extensively in theatre, television and film. He is shortly to be seen in a new BBC series MISTRESSES. Recent television also includes THE OFFICE; DIANA: LAST DAYS OF A PRINCESS (as Dodi) and NO HEROICS. Theatre roles include the National Theatre (ALBERT SPEER, FINDING THE SUN, BATTLE ROYAL, MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN), the RSC and Birmingham Rep where he appeared in MY NIGHT WITH REG and DEALERS CHOICE.

Ariel Dorfman, acclaimed novelist, playwright, poet, essayist and journalist, was born in Buenos Aires and after spending his childhood in New York ended up in Chile, where he became a citizen. With his family, he was forced into exile by the military coup of 1973; since 1990 when democracy was restored in Chile he divides his time between Santiago and North Carolina USA where he is a distinguished professor at Duke University. His books, written in Spanish and English, have been translated into more than forty languages and his plays staged in over one hundred countries.

His best known play is DEATH AND THE MAIDEN (1992). This amazing work began life in London in the tiny Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court, soon moved to the much larger main theatre at the Royal Court and from there to the West End, where it won the Olivier Award and prizes all around the world. A film version (1994) was directed by Roman Polanski. Currently his play WIDOWS (co-written with Tony Kushner) is having its New York premiere, and PICASSO’S CLOSET, directed by Paul Garrington is scheduled to open in London in the autumn of 2008.

His musical DANCING SHADOWS with songs by Eric Woolfson recently swept the 2007 Korean Tony Awards after its world premiere in Seoul. A PROMISE TO THE DEAD, a feature documentary based on his bestselling memoir HEADING SOUTH LOOKING NORTH, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and has just finished a fourteen city tour of the United States that qualifies it for the 2008 Oscars. BBC’s Storyville will transmit the film in March 2008. Ariel writes regularly for the main newspapers of the world.