South Africa: Gut-Punching Play Delivers the Brutality of School Bullying


The play 'Evil' is about bullying and aims to challenge young audiences and encourage them to consider important issues in the safe space of the theatre. Be warned that the play is not about entertainment - the violence is unsettling, and one is left with a sense of hopelessness.

It's unusual to admire an actor and to simultaneously hate the play.

Not because the script is rubbish, but because its words are too brutal and intense. The gut-punching production is titled Evil, and it's not about genocide or holocaust, war or a serial killer, where you would expect disturbing and graphic images. It's about school bullying.

The one-man show is the story of Erik, played by Jaques de Silva, who leaps on to tables, rolls off beds and mimics different characters and accents as he recalls his teenage years. He's excellent at physical theatre from his expressive eyebrows to his agile toes. First, he summons up the personality of his father as he punches young Erik across the dinner table. De Silva's character talks of the "restful calm" when his father was not at home, and of the senseless beatings when he was locked in the bedroom with this monstrous...

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