The Prisoner

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The Prisoner is a 1954 play a play in three acts by Irish-British playwright Bridget Boland (1913-1988) [1].

The original text

A play about totalitarianism, inspired by the plight of Catholic Cardinal Iozsef Mindszenty (1892—1975). It is done as a series of scenes between The Interrogator and The Prisoner, where the Prisoner is a Cardinal in the Catholic Church of a middle-European country and the Interrogator represents the totalitarian government which has taken over that country. They each respect the other, but cannot accept what the other stands for.

First produced in London, 1954, and first published in Plays of the Year 10, by Elek, London, 1954 and by Dramatist's Play Service, New York, c1956.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1960: Presented by the University of Cape Town's University Dramatic Society at the Little Theatre in July, directed by John Pikoulis.

1961: Staged in English by the National Theatre Organisation in the Alexander Theatre in Johannesburg, the National Theatre in Pretoria and in the Civic Theatre in Bellville. The production was directed by Victor Melleney, with André Huguenet (The Prisoner), Arthur Hall (The Interrogator), Joe Stewardson (The Cell Warder), Danie Marais (A Secretary), Frank Wise (A Doctor), Michael Coulson (A Barber), James Christie (Warder) and Joan Lovelace (An Old Woman). Decor by Frank Graves and costumes by Doreen Graves. It was to be André Huguenet's triumphant last lead role, playing the Prisoner. He committed suicide shortly after the run had ended. The next year the NTO was closed down and replaced by the four Performing Arts Councils.


Inskip, 1972.

NTO theatre programme, 1961.

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