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Marais and The Soul of the Termite

Shaun Evans (ITV's Endeavour) plays the naturalist and poet Eugene Marais in Mike Walker's mesmerising play about bereavement and "the bigger picture". Directed by David Morley.

Shaun Evans (ITV's Endeavour) plays the naturalist and poet Eugene Marais in Mike Walker's mesmerising play about bereavement and 'the bigger picture'. Directed by David Morley.

Eugene Marais was a South African lawyer, naturalist and poet who virtually single-handedly created the scientific study of animal behaviour. Ignored or traduced during his lifetime, he is now lauded - by Robert Ardrey and Richard Dawkins amongst many others.

He spent three years in the wild observing apes for a classic work, The Soul of the Ape. His masterpiece is The Soul of the White Ant, a passionate and hugely accessible study of termites, an enthralling journey into an alien and yet ultimately familiar world which he evokes with startling vividness. Originally a series of articles published in 1923, they were plagiarised by the Belgian Nobel Prize-winning writer Maurice Maeterlinck, who published Termites, an almost line for line transcription of Marais' work. Marais tried to get recompense or even acknowledgement but was unable to prevail against the world-famous writer.

In 1936, Marais was found dead of a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Cast:
EUGENE MARAIS - SHAUN EVANS
DAHON - LUCY DOYLE
MAETERLINCK – PHILIP FRANKS
LETTIE – ALEXANDRA GUELFF
MABELEL – BESSIE ASHLEY
WALTER & LALELE – JUDE OWUSU
PIET & KRUGER – PETER NOBLE

Sound design: Tom Maggs

Writer: Mike Walker
Producer/ Director: David Morley
Executive Producer: Dirk Maggs

Original Music by Chris O'Shaughnessy
Pianist, Paddy McDonald

Image of Shaun Evans by Faye Thomas

A Perfectly Normal production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

57 minutes

Last on

Sat 6 Feb 2021 15:00

Broadcast

  • Sat 6 Feb 2021 15:00

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