Clare Evans-Argent stars in “Death and the Maiden”


This summer our very own Clare Evans-Argent indulged her passion for all that is dramatic when she starred in Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ with the Harrogate Dramatic Society. First performed in 1991, this claustrophobic tale of a torture victim turning the tables on her putative tormentor begins and ends with Schubert’s famous string quartet of the same name.

Clare plays Paulina Salas, a former medical student and political activist who many years before was arrested, raped and tortured under a brutal South American dictatorship for daring to oppose the regime. Never able to see the face of the doctor who was her principal tormentor, she retains the memory of his voice and his fondness for Schubert, whose quartet provided the soundtrack to her agonies. Convinced that the ‘good Samaritan’ who gives her human rights lawyer husband Gerardo Escobar a lift home one night, is the same man, she drugs him and sets about extracting a confession.

Is Roberto guilty or Paulina crazy?

As the play progresses, Paulina runs through the full gamut of emotions and proves herself every bit as ruthless as her former captors. James Willstrop, as Gerardo is by turns loving, supportive, manipulative, exasperated and sceptical. Expertly directed by Rachel Conyers, this taut psychological thriller deliberately leaves unanswered questions. Is Paulina after justice or revenge?  Is the luckless Roberto, played by Stuart Newsome, a monster or an innocent victim of her paranoia? And whose side should Gerardo take?


“Clare Evans-Argent gives a very powerful performance as Paulina, whom we first see as a vulnerable woman, traumatised by the past to such a degree that her reaction to hearing a car pull up outside her home is to reach for a gun,” says Maggie Cobbett in her review for the Harrogate Advertiser.

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