When The Dead Arrived at Milnerton Playhouse


CRITICALLY acclaimed local playwright Werner Asher Steffen brings a new play to the stage of Milnerton Playhouse from September 29 to October 14. The world premiere of When the Dead Arrived is directed by Anton Schӓfer. The story questions humanity and our reactions when a global crisis hits.

A mysterious mutated virus breaks out and, as people become half-dead, the race for survival begins. Three characters, John (Steffen), Clive (Shaun Saal) and Cordelia (Ilse van Niekerk) find themselves in a small, now-abandoned office looking for temporary refuge from the outbreak. As they interact, plan and attempt to orchestrate their own survival, their own sense of humanity is tested, revealing some deeper truths about human nature.

This is a thought-provoking, searching production which looks at the fact that when faced with a threat people tend to fend for themselves without thought for those less fortunate, something experienced to a large extent during the Covid pandemic (the period when the play was written). Despite so much selflessness by many in the public service and within communities, the selfishness displayed elsewhere raised many questions.

Schafer has this to say:”While we use the notion of ‘half dead’ it is not for the sake of creating a show of horror and blood, but rather as a vehicle to illustrate a deeper truth about our own sense of humanity. When we are all in dire straits, our sense of humanity is truly put to the test.  How ‘good’ are we really, despite what we think (or like to think) about ourselves?  The play tries to challenge these notions of ‘humanity’ and ‘goodwill in extreme circumstances’ and hopes to open up this dialogue.”

  • The play contains strong language and themes of an adult nature and is not suitable for persons under the age of 16.
  • Venue: Milnerton Playhouse, Pienaar Road, (behind the library), Milnerton.
  • Dates: Fridays 29 Sept, 6 and 13 October 8pm; Saturdays 7 and 14 October 2pm; 30 September, 7 and 14 October 8pm.
  • Bookings here.
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