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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

A TIME TO DIE (article first published : 1999-09-22)

One of the highlights of Durban's Anglo Boer War centenary commemorations this month is the premiere of a dramatic new and thought-provoking play written by well-known actor and director Brian O'Shaughnessy who was a household name during the late-lamented days of radio drama and of Springbok Radio, in particular.

Directed by Jacky Vermaas, A Time to Die looks at the events surrounding the controversial trial and subsequent execution of outspoken Australian-based British soldier, Breaker Morant, and his friend Peter Handcock. Breaker Morant has become something of a martyr and folk-lore hero and the debate still continues as to whether he was a liar, thief and murderer or a pawn in a complex political power game. He belonged to the Bushveld Carbineers, a special force consisting mainly of Australians which operated in the remote areas of the Transvaal who had the reputation of being wild, drunk and disorderly.

A Time to Die is based on an incident during the war when four Australian lieutenants, Harry "Breaker” Morant, Peter Handcock, George Witton and Ivor Summers were court martialled by the British on charges of murdering Boer prisoners-of-war and a German missionary Jacob Hesse. The story has generated much opinion and supposition, partly because accurate information of the trial has not been made available.

The play runs at KwaSuka Theatre from October 7 to 23. Book at Computicket.

There is a special preview on October 6 with an Australian theme cocktail party. For details call Eben Otto on (031) 309-7559.


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