Press Release: A Human Being Died That Night

February 13, 2014



Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre present A Human Being Died That Night, a play by Nicholas Wright. A Human Being Died That Night is a Fugard Theatre production, which will open at the Fugard Studio Theatre in Cape Town and then transfer to the Market Theatre in Johannesburg before a formal London season back at the Hampstead Theatre in May 2014. The play was first produced by Eric Abraham at The Hampstead Downstairs, London in May of this year and ran for a sold out 5 week season.  It was an “underground” workshop run without press or critics. Social media comments from those who saw it were sensational and overwhelming. A Human Being Died That Night will be directed by Jonathan Munby (UK) and co-directed by Greg Karvellas (SA). 

1997. 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”– 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. One is reminded of European writer and philosopher Hannah Arendt’s endeavor to understand the nature of evil when she wrote about the Nazi holocaust architect Adolf Eichman’s trial in Israel in 1962.


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?


A Human Being Died That Night is based on Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madizikela ‘s Alan Paton award-winning best-selling book of the same name and 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 who 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).


Noma Dumezweni is a highly regarded Swazi born British stage, film and tv actress who won the Laurence Olivier Award for her supporting role in Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun (Young Vic and Lyric Theatre). Matthew 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.


Director Jonathan 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 Nights Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe) and Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company (at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre). The creative team on A Human Being Died That Night is Paul Wills (UK, SA) on design; lighting by Daniel Galloway (SA) and Tim Mitchell (UK), and sound design by James Webb (SA) and Christopher Shutt (UK).


Following the South African and World Premiere season at the Fugard Studio Theatre in Cape Town, which runs from 20 February – 15 March 2014, The Fugard Theatre production of A Human Being Died That Night transfers to the Barney Simon Theatre at The Market Theatre for a limited season from 19 March – 6 April 2014.


Bookings for the season at the Fugard Studio Theatre will open on Monday 2 December 2013 on Tickets ranging from R120 to R160 can also be purchased through the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554. Friends of the Fugard continue to receive excellent discounts when booking through the box office. The production is not suitable for children younger than 14.


Press release provided by Allison Foat, Diva PR.

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