Los fascinantes fondos de la Biblioteca Nacional de Israel
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Imagine the person who has hurt you the most in your life; imagine that you have that person at your mercy; you can be the one who decides if he gets reincarnated, absolved, or if he can forget all about it. But let's pretend that that person is the one you've hurt the most. Put all this in a single room and you've got Purgatorio.
A while ago I thought of the idea of a couple of characters in heaven, battling each other. I rolled around in my head the idea of a heaven where two people were talking, asking questions, but where the person spoken to didn't know who the other one was. I also thought about this question about Medea's afterlife; I was really interested in that character, the woman who kills her children in such a rage that she ends up being burned into mankind's collective memory as a legend. When I began writing Purgatorio, I only had a man and a woman…. I knew how they talked, how they moved, how they looked at each other: their intimate rhythms, but suddenly I realized who they were and from there I was able to establish some fundamental questions for it: Is redemption possible? Can love survive tragedy? What are the rules in heaven? How does time bend and stretch in purgatory?
I was also interested in the history of colonialism, in how the warriors find a woman who ends up betraying her people to open the country up to foreign interests. Almost invariably, that couple has children and, almost inevitably, that man ends up leaving the woman. This happens again and again in history. When the warrior conquistador wants to establish himself somewhere with legitimate children, he marries a member of the aristocracy of his own blood and leaves the woman of the other race. This gives the play some rooting in the history of our kind, it poses some questions about the union of different culturals, but always from a point of view that's not openly political, but oblique, not imposing a sentence or an accusation.