Info: Harriet Walter’s curated season ends with an acclaimed theatre production from the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town and later seen in London and New York. Based on Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s book, Nicholas Wright’s play explores the relationship between the psychologist and Eugene de Kock, the apartheid regime’s most notorious assassin. Part of the BBC On Stage season.
Sound design by Christopher Shutt
Produced for the Fugard Theatre by Eric Abraham
1997. Pretoria Central Prison, South Africa. Psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela prepares to sit opposite the notorious Eugene de Kock, nicknamed ‘Prime Evil’, the head of the apartheid regime’s death squads. A member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Madikizela 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 endeavour to understand the nature of evil when she wrote about the Nazi holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Israel in 1961.
‘A Human Being Died That Night’ is based on Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s 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.
South African born Nicholas Wright is one of Britain’s foremost playwrights and has written regularly for the National Theatre. His plays include ‘Vincent in Brixton’ (Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play 2003), ‘The Last of the Duchess’ (2011), ‘Travelling Light’ (2012) and recently a dramatisation of Pat Barker’s ‘Regeneration’ (2014).
I need to find out about interviwers coming under the spell of mass murderers…
Cannot rate this – it is way too gruelling
Writer Nicholas Wright
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela Noma Dumezweni
Eugene de Kock Matthew Marsh