Death and the Maiden premiered at the Royal Court in 1991 before transferring to the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre for a year. The new production will be directed by the Royal Court’s current deputy artistic director Jeremy Herrin.
Thandie Newton plays former political prisoner Paulina Salas in Dorfman’s account of confession and revenge set against the backdrop of a new democracy, emerging from a long period of dictatorship. Although she has never seen the face of her captor, she recalls his voice and mannerisms with terrifying clarity. Years later, and as if by fate, she acts as judge and jury to a man she believes to have been her oppressor.
The original production, directed by Lindsay Posner, starred Juliet Stevenson, Michael Byrne and Bill Paterson, and won Dorfman the 1992 Olivier Award for Best New Play. Death and the Maiden was later produced on Broadway and adapted into a film by Roman Polanski.
Newton's extensive screen credits include Crash (for which she won a BAFTA), Beloved opposite Oprah Winfrey, Mission Impossible II with Tom Cruise, The Pursuit of Happyness alongside Will Smith and Run Fat Boy Run with Simon Pegg. She played Condoleezza Rice in Oliver Stone’s W and the US President’s daughter in 2012. She was most recently seen in Huge and is currently filming Good Deeds, written and directed by Tyler Perry, who also stars.
Casting for the play's two male roles is still to be announced.
Director Jeremy Herrin's recent credits include Polly Stenham’s That Face and Tusk Tusk, David Hare’s The Vertical Hour, Michael Wynne’s The Priory and Richard Bean’s The Heretic. He made his Shakespearean debut this summer with Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe starring Eve Best and Charles Edwards, and will direct South Downs at Chichester in September.
Death and the Maiden is produced by Nick Frankfort and Tobias Round for CMP Limited and Lyndi Adler. It’s initially booking until 21 January 2012.