One night there was a knock on my door.  And into my life trooped five black people from the black ghetto of Port Elizabeth called New Brighton.  And they had come to ask me — they’d read about me and my success in the local newspaper, and they’d come to ask me if I would help them start a theater group.  At first I thought, “God, no.  The last thing I want to do is teach people how to act or what theater is about.  I’m a writer.  I just want to write my play.”  But my guilty liberal conscience got the better of me, and I said, “All right, let’s try something.”  And that started a very, very important and defining period in my life when I realized — because at that moment the apartheid laws were all powerful in the country.  And one of the consequences of it was there was a silence.  Free speech did not exist.  It’s as simple as that.  The Americas cherished free speech.  We knew nothing about that.  If you spoke up too loudly about the injustice or anything like that, you were in trouble.  And what those five people taught me, as we began to work together then, was that theater was a way of breaking that conspiracy of silence. That you could use the stage to talk about things that would have landed you in trouble if you talked about them openly and publicly in any other context.  As it turned out, there were consequences, because although the police had already targeted me to a certain extent as being a liberal —  a dreaded word in South African politics in that period — the black people were defenseless.  I was protected by my white skin.  And a large number of my actors were arrested during — not a large number — about five or six were arrested during rehearsals and carted off to Robben Island.