A Human Being Died That Night

BAM’s Fishman Space was transformed into a cell in Pretoria Central Prison tonight, and although I willingly bought my ticket to this play, I can’t say I was looking forward to experiencing it. As it turned out, I sat riveted for 80 minutes while I struggled — along with the characters in the play — with issues of forgiveness in the face of extreme violence. A Human Being Died That Night is based on a book by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela about her interviews with Eugene de Kock as she attempted to understand why the man known as “Prime Evil” committed his despicable crimes during apartheid in South Africa — and how he felt about his actions. In doing so, I was able to see a man such as de Kock as a real person for the first time — a complex and fully human person who also happened to commit evil acts. It was an uncomfortable yet transformative experience and I am glad I chose this play as part of my subscription.

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