Ben Caplan stars in Original Theatre’s acclaimed recent world premiere production of Ben Brown’s The End of the Night, which will be available online on demand from 4 July 2022.
From the writer of Three Days In May (WhatsOnStage Best New Play Award) and A Splinter of Ice, and directed by Alan Strachan, The End of the Night is a tense and absorbing new drama based on a true story.
Ben Caplan (Call the Midwife) plays World Jewish Congress representative Norbert Masur alongside Richard Clothier (Young Wallander) as prominent Nazi Heinrich Himmler and Michael Lumsden (The Archers) as physiotherapist Felix Kersten. Completing the cast are Audrey Palmer (The Mousetrap) as Elisabeth Lube and Olivia Bernstone (Birdsong, Original Theatre) as Jeanne Bommezjin.
Details on how to stream The End of the Night starring Ben Caplan can be found here
You’re starring in The End of the Night that will be streaming On Demand – what can you tell us about the play?
It’s the extraordinary untold story of a Swedish representative of the World Jewish Congress who had the opportunity to meet with Heinrich Himmler at an estate north of Berlin, a few weeks before the end of World War 2, to negotiate the release of prisoners from Ravensbrook Concentration Camp.
The whole encounter was organised by Himmler’s Masseur, Dr Felix Kersten, and creates a very intense and charged drama that took place in the middle of the night that very few people knew about.
What was it about Ben Brown’s script that really appealed to you as an actor?
I was astonished that this meeting had even taken place and that it was not more known, as the bravery and sacrifice of this Jewish man flying in to Germany for the opportunity to save as many lives as possible, and meet with one of the men responsible for orchestrating the final solution.
Some of the play was taken directly from the account that Masur wrote when he managed to get back to Stockholm, and to have the chance to speak his words and bring his story to life was a real honour and privilege. I felt that was a very important story that needed to be told. I was also fascinated to get under the skin of someone who had to pluck up the courage to leave the safety of Stockholm and his family to have this meeting, and as an actor created a very complex and interesting challenge.
Tell us a little more about your character?
He was actually only a last minute substitute as the man who was meant to go was much more senior within the World Jewish Congress Organisation, but had many of his family perish at the hands of the Nazis.
He volunteered as he was brought up in Germany and had a Swedish passport and would have been part of negotiations before, but from the safety of Sweden, and would have never taken such an important and responsible task, so it was a huge challenge.
We know very little about what happened to him after the war apart from he had a family and possibly ended up in Israel. Nevertheless in my mind he undertook on an extraordinary task and the ripples of his actions were enormous, and he deserves to be more recognised.
What was it like working with Original Theatre Company who have been at the forefront of producing digital theatre?
I really enjoyed working with Original on this project and was aware of some of the live-streamed work they had produced during COVID. We worked with a fantastic team who collaborated to put this production together, and the fact that we had a run in front of a live audience as well as filming it to allow a bigger audience to see it, made it even more special.
Do you have a favourite memory from working on The End of the Night?
There was a performance where a couple had flown over from Israel to see the production having read about it online. They had lost many members of their family in the Holocaust and were really moved and affected by the show.
We chatted to them afterwards and they could hardly speak as they were so moved. I often felt the effect the play was having on the audience during the performance and you could see people reacting to what was being said and without fail people wanted to talk and discuss the play after. If nothing else this is what Theatre should have the power to do.
What would you say to anyone thinking of streaming The End of the Night?
It’s a fascinating and important true story that deserves to have more recognition. It’s not very long but very worth watching and hopefully remind people that we must try to stop these events not happening again. Unfortunately with what’s going on in the world today history seems to be repeating itself. We must do everything we can to help and support people who are being repressed.