The Night of St. Valentine
by Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom collaboration and translation: Rolf C. Hemke / Repertoire
In the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013, the South African star sprinter Oscar Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, the model Reeva Steenkamp, through the bathroom door of their house. In court, he claimed to have mistaken her for an intruder, but was nevertheless convicted on charges of manslaughter. For his new play, the South African writer and director Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom, who has been working for the prestigious South African State Theatre of Pretoria for fourteen years, takes this case as the starting point to tell a similar story: Pop starlet Elize Thorn is shot dead, and her fiancé Danie, a popular South African rugby player, is the prime suspect.
What happened? The experienced homicide detective Lieutenant Stopford begins her investigations. Grootboom analyses questions concerning the limits of our perception and the construction of reality and truth by means of a Rashomon dramaturgy: Over four acts he employs diverging witness reports to present and think through contradictory versions of the events. How much wisdom can we find in the old saying that truth lies in the eye of the beholder?