Up close with Pieter-Dirk Uys

2017-02-01 06:02
PHOTO: supplied Evita Bezuidenhout - ‘Pieter-Dirk Uys’ - in ‘An Evening with Evita Bezuidenhout’ this month at the Hex.

PHOTO: supplied Evita Bezuidenhout - ‘Pieter-Dirk Uys’ - in ‘An Evening with Evita Bezuidenhout’ this month at the Hex.

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PIETER-Dirk Uys, better known for his vivacious character Evita Bezuidenhout, will be in Pietermaritzburg for a week at the Hexagon Theatre this month.

Getting to know Uys a bit more, he told Maritzburg Fever a bit of where he came from and how he started.

Having grown up with parents who were entertainers, Uys said that drama was in his DNA and took an interest in drama at school after watching Shakespeare. He then attended the drama school at the University of Cape Town to complete his Bachelor of Arts.

“I’ve always been interested in the arts, but it has always been the stories that attracted me and if there is humour, that also helped the attraction,” he said.

Evita Bezuidenhout was born in 1978 as a character in a weekly newspaper column, mainly as a way to expose the madness and horrors of the politics of that time.

“I think the restrictions I was faced with helped me create possibilities of confronting them through unexplored avenues - in my case, using humour as a weapon of mass distraction. To laugh at fear could help make that fear less fearful … laughter was a relief. It still is.

“And Evita was just one of those characters who eventually stepped out of the satirical cluster and became the most famous white woman in South Africa - then and now.

“Me in disguise as a tannie was a good way to confuse those who wanted to stop me because she was the first person to say ‘stop this third-rate comedian from making fun of us’, also having good legs helped,” Uys joked.

He added she has no sense of humour.

“She doesn’t understand irony and so she reflects many reactions to what she says. And just because she doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean she’s not real.”

Uys said he hoped Evita would be a success and be welcomed by South Africans.

“One always hopes that success will allow a character to develop, but I never dreamed that she would become a real farce to be reckoned with. She reminds everyone of someone they know, a mother-in-law, a teacher, a wife, a grannie, a politician, a tannie, a madam. I hope the women recognise the woman and the men forget the man,” he said.

Uys will be performing two shows this month, The Echo of a Noise on Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22, Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February and An Evening with Evita Bezuidenhout on Thursday, 23 February.

The Echo of a Noise is a one-man memoir where South Africa’s foremost satirist sits on a barstool, opens his heart and talks about his private and public life leading the audience into his inner-sanctuary with stories that can evoke surprise, laughter and tears.

“I have never had the courage to get out from behind the masks and facades of the many characters I have performed on stage for over 7 000 times. They were mainly there to focus on political madness and mirth.

“This is the first time I tell the story behind the stories. Maybe turning 70 has given me the thumbs-up to share the secrets and let the cat out of the bag,” said Uys.

All shows take place at the Hexagon Theatre and begin at 7.30pm. Tickets available from www.webtickets.co.za

For more information, phone 033 260 5537 or email hexagon@ ukzn.ac.za

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