The village of Prince Albert is no stranger to artists and creatives, and we look forward to welcoming Pieter-Dirk Uys – the alter-ego of self-proclaimed political activist Evita Bezuidenhout – at the Showroom Theatre on Friday, 2 March for Evita Bezuidenhout and the Kaktus of Separate Development (already sold out) and on Saturday, 3 March for his critically acclaimed one-man autobiographical show The Echo of Noise .
The Echo of Noise starts off with Uys making an appearance on stage with his black Almost Famous shirt. He then sits down on a bar stool bathed in a pool of light. The narrative is largely driven by Uys’ intricate relationship with his father, and in the first few seconds of the show one hears a recording of Uys as a child angelically singing, accompanied by his father on piano.
His presence immediately fills the auditorium.
The story he weaves is a poignant one. Now in his 72nd year, he does not glance back at the successes and failures that have shaped his determination to constantly improve his work, but rather at small sign posts that have pointed him in the right direction; his complicated relationship with his family, false eyelashes and Sophia Loren.
Pieter-Dirk Uys was born in Cape Town on 28 September 1945, to Hannes Uys, a Calvinist Afrikaner father, and Berlin-born mother Helga Bassel. His mother was a Jewish concert pianist and was expelled from the Reichsmusikkammer by the Nazis in 1945 as part of their campaign to root out Jewish performers. She managed to escape to South Africa with her grand piano in tact. She spoke little to her children about her Jewish past and encouraged them to embrace Afrikaner culture. In fact, they only discovered her religious roots after her suicide.
Uys had a complicated relationship with his father; he loved him but did not like him very much. He says his father was the sternest critic of his work, but also the one who could give him very good advice. Uys jokes that the Publications Control Board, for which his father worked, was the best public relations team he ever had.
He also speaks of Sannie, the family’s domestic help, who was a major influence and his childhood ally. She taught him Cape Flats Afrikaans – the language of the angels – and listened to stories on Bok Radio with him.
He received a B.A. from the University of Cape Town, where his dramatic career began. He also studied at the London Film School in the early 1970s and it was in one of his student films, an advertisement for milk, that he performed in drag for the first time. For the entire course of the show, Uys only briefly touches on his relationship with Evita Bezuidenhout.
In a career that has spanned well over seven thousand performances, Uys takes the audience into his confidence and behind the scenes, breaking all rules and crossing all boundaries. He is
a master storyteller who can make just as much fun of others as of himself, and some critics are haling The Echo of Noise as his finest performance.
Tickets are R150 per person and are selling out fast.
And remember to check out Prince Albert Tourism’s website at www.princealbert.org.za for accommodation and attractions in the area. .