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As Confissões Verdadeiras de um Terrorista Albino  
[The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist]

As Confissões Verdadeiras de um Terrorista Albino from the homonymous book by South African writer, Breyten Breytenbach, adapted and staged by Rogério de Carvalho, co-produced by Teatro GRIOT /Gulbenkian Next Future Programme, premiered in September 2014 in Lisbon and the author attended the opening night. In the following years the play was performed at several theatres in Portugal, and in Paris at Le Carreau du Temple – integrating the Chantiers d’Europe Festival (2015), promoted by Théâtre de la Ville. 

It was considered the Best Play of 2014 by the Portuguese newspaper Público.


As Confissões Verdadeiras de um Terrorista Albino is the autobiographical portrait of the years of imprisonment in the South African prisons of the artist and writer Breyten Breytenbach. An excruciating narrative of his journey through the infernal machine of the South African prison system, with all its entourage of horrors, unbelievable stories, human figures. It is a reflection of the prisoner isolated from all his connections with the world, which ends up doubting the reality of what he lives. It is a dramatic testimony with great poetics.

Text Breyten Breytenbach 

Adaptation Rogério de Carvalho

Director Rogério de Carvalho 

Cast Carla Gomes, Daniel Martinho, 

Giovanni Lourenço, Maria Duarte, 

Matamba Joaquim, Miguel Eloy, Zia Soares

Light design Jorge Ribeiro 

Sound design Pedro Lima, soundslikenuno

Costumes Rosário Moreira 

Elocution Luís Madureira

Photography Sofia Berberan 

Graphic Design Siamese Bastards

Produced by Teatro GRIOT and 

Gulbenkian Next Future Programme

Duration 2h15 with one interval


Rogério de carvalho, director

How to deliver this text by Breytenbach? How to manifest the poetics carried by the book? What kind of dramatic reality can be constructed? Exclamative (tragedy)? Narrative? Affirmative? The question of Theatre as Art has always been about finding the fair means to say and translate what we live: what takes place can’t be told with our daily language – it’s necessary to find other word modalities to tell what happens to us collectively. This is the fundamental reason for choosing ‘Confession Véridique d´ un Terroriste Albinos’ by Breyten Breytenbach. 

We seek to find signs that allow us to say what hits us with the signs given by the text. The actors work the view imposed by the text in a double movement of reciprocal instrumentation of the text and whom says it. This production is an odyssey. Of great risk. Obliges us to find the new.

Breyten Breytenbach, author

It was quite an experience to have the privilege of being present in Lisbon, a few months ago, at the staging of an adaptation for the theatre of my prison memoir, “The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist”. I was anxious at the prospect of being confronted with this painful part of my past, particularly with Golden Lotus, my wife who carried me through the ordeal now at my side. The memory is still dark and besmirched with the inhumanity and indignities of then. Of course, events before that and since have shown how lost we are and how desperately cruel man can be to man. The world we have made is not a life-friendly place… And my second anxiety was whether a text written from such physical and mental darkness and deprivation, essentially in the shape of an “interior interrogation”, could ever be adapted successfully to the demands of the stage. How were they going to visualize it? How could they split into a murmur of multiple voices that which was spoken in one mind, and even then with a closed mouth?… I was overwhelmed. Under RogérIo de Carvalho’s searching and sensitive and fearless direction, the players embodied not only faithfully that Kafkaesque space and moment in time, but they also broadened it to encompass  in a kind of lament the horrors of the human condition we all share, and what the human does to his or her fellow human. The spectator is sucked, spellbound, into a dimension of ritual where there is nearly no décor to relieve the bleakness, and only snippets of a soundtrack.

What we are confronted by is the sheer vulnerability of humanity, by the deep ways in which we are linked and all the same, but then as well by the inextinguishable instinct to continue struggling for justice and for dignity. Even if only to “fail better”…  

I bow before you in gratitude, comrades in the struggle!

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