A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT to Play Fugard Studio Theatre, 20 Feb - 15 March
Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre will present A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT, a play by Nicholas Wright, in a tour that opens at the Fugard Studio Theatre in Cape Town, before transferring to the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, after which the show will be performed in a formal London season at the Hampstead Theatre in May 2014.
A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT is set in 1997 at the Pretoria Central Prison, South Africa. Psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela prepares to sit opposite the apartheid regime's most notorious assassin, Eugene de Kock. Nicknamed "Prime Evil", De Kock was the head of the apartheid regime's death squads. A member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Madizikela questions De Kock who is serving a 212 year sentence for crimes against humanity, murder, conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, assault, kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms, and fraud. She is determined to try to understand what motivated De Kock's actions. How did de Kock become one of the most reviled figures in apartheid and indeed world history? Is Pumla able to overcome her disgust and hate for this monster and find the human within? And will de Kock be prepared to open up and tell an educated black woman the truth? Or is he seeing her as someone who can help his campaign for a presidential pardon?
Reminicient of European writer and philosopher, Hannah Arendt's endeavour to understand the nature of evil when she wrote about the Nazi holocaust architect Adolf Eichman's trial in Israel in 1962, A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT is based on Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madizikela's best-selling book of the same name, which won the 2004 Alan Paton Award. Gobodo-Madizikela explores, through her extraordinary prison interviews with De Kock, how a fundamentally moral person could become a mass murderer. She questions his continued imprisonment.
South African born Nicholas Wright is one of Britain's foremost playwrights and has regularly written for the National Theatre. His plays include VINCENT IN BRIXTON (Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play, 2003), THE REPORTER (2007), THE LAST DUCHESS (The Hampstead Theatre, 2011) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2012). A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT was first produced by Eric Abraham at The Hampstead Downstairs, London in May 2013 and ran for a sold out 5 week season. An "underground" workshop run without press or critics, social media comments from those who saw it were sensational and overwhelming.
The cast of A HUMAN BEING DIES THAT NIGHT includes Noma Dumezweni and Matthew Marsh. Dumezweni is a highly regarded Swazi-born British stage, film and television actress who won the Laurence Olivier Award for her supporting role in Lorraine Hansberry's RAISIN IN THE SUN (Young Vic and Lyric Theatre). Marsh is one of Britain's foremost actors with credits that range from THE IRON LADY with Meryl Streep to the hit BBC TV series SPOOKS.
The play will be directed by Jonathan Munby (UK) and co-directed by Greg Karvellas (SA). Munby's last production at the Fugard Theatre was Caryl Churchill's A NUMBER with father and son British theatre stars Tim and Sam West. Additional theatre credits include Heinrich von Kleist's THE PRINCE OF HOMBERG (Donmar Warehouse), Pedro de la Barca's LIFE IS A DREAM (Donmar Warehouse), A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT'S DREAM (Shakespeare's Globe) and Stephen Sondheim's musical COMPANY (Sheffield Crucible Theatre).
Karvellas has worked as a director, producer, actor and production manager in theatre, film and television for over ten years. He is the co-owner (with Louis Viljoen) of Dark Red Productions which has produced the plays THE ABUSERS, THE BILE BOYS, THE FRONTIERSMEN and THE VERBALISTS, as well as the feature film COWBOY. Karvellas also directed the hit play CHAMP, which ran at Artscape, the Fugard Theatre, the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013, earning him a nomination for the Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for New Directors.