Ariel Dorfman’s Purgatorio is a claustrophobic two-hander about revenge and redemption, with echoes of Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944 play Huis Clos and Euripides' Medea. It was first performed at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, USA, on 2 November 2005. (An earlier version was first performed in a rehearsed reading at the Criterion Theatre, London, on 30 November 2001).
Two characters – a 'Man' and a 'Woman' – are trapped in a soul-less white room. Each is interrogated in turn by the other. Each is groping for forgiveness and contrition. Finally the woman is forced to confront her past actions. Above all, she has to acknowledge that, after her partner abandoned her to marry another woman, she murdered their two children.
Purgatorio's premiere at Seattle Repertory Theatre was directed by David Esbjornson and performed by Charlayne Woodard and Dan Snook.
The play was first performed in the UK at the Arcola Theatre, London, on 15 January 2008 in a production directed by Daniele Guerra. The performers were Adjoa Andoh and Patrick Baladi.