Farce about Uys
“I can’t solve any problems but can try to reflect them in a cracked mirror of satire, which often allows the viewer to laugh at themselves. I’m in Darling on the West Coast, which is an hour from the airport. I travel light and alone. I’m on time. I speak two of the eleven official languages, with a smattering of needed phrases to help me at petrol stations and through customs. I’m now 70 and still feel 16, so I must be doing or eating something right. “ Pieter-Dirk Uys (He has Evita Bezuidenhout’s unlisted phone number)
- “You ANC Nothing Yet”
- “No One’s Died Laughing”
- “For Facts Sake”
- “And then there was Madiba”
- “Adapt or Fly”
- Evita Bezuidenhout’s State of the Nation Address
Pieter-Dirk Uys has been unemployed since 1975, when the government of the day banned his writings and made him a liability. Since then he has become his job and is self-employed, with the government of the day remaining his best scriptwriters. They put the words into his mouth. That is why he doesn’t pay taxes; he pays royalties. He has performed over 7000 one man performances throughout the world, mainly focusing on unfunny and worrying subjects like inhumanity, racism, corruption and fear, and making them entertaining through humour which is his weapon of mass distraction. His passion is fairness and respect, also once regarded as the basis for democracy. He will always side with the underdog and ridicule the fat cat, and being a gay Jewish Afrikaner with Congolese DNA, he belongs to some of the best chosen peoples in the universe. He can make you laugh till you cry and then dry your tears with a smile.
He stands firmly in the present with an eye on the future and an echo of the past. His year does not have 365 days; it has two days – today and tomorrow. Where we are now is the most essential focus of all his energy, with a respectful nod at tomorrow which can only be a better future with total commitment to excellence today. Laughing at fear also helps make that fear less fearful – and so his balance of 49% anger / 51% entertainment has always been the magic potion of optimism.
He probably has better legs in high heels than other speakers and he has dozens of funny, hopeless, inspiring, infuriating, familiar and unique characters that travel with him and can enlighten the most cryptic questions of survival. He is not scared to voice his opinion, knowing that freedom of expression allows everyone to disagree as loudly. He also believes that without humour there can be no heaven. Besides, hell is just too exhausting.
The Los Angeles Times critic said in October 2012: “Uys dons false eyelashes and presidents listen.”
Pieter-Dirk Uys has survived the various potholes in the road of life in South Africa, by doing what he calls a tango in front of a firing squad during the years of apartheid and today proving that a toyi-toyi in the minefield is not as risky as it seems. He celebrates our 21+ years of freedom by focusing on the mock in democracy and the con in reconciliation. He illustrates his ways of survival with reflections of the government censorships of the 1970s and 80s that made him infamous as the most banned playwright in South Africa. His friendships with the new wave of leadership after 1994 include the creation of Evita Bezuidenhout who, just because she doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean she’s not real. Her relationship with Nelson Mandela brings many wonderful anecdotes to the fore. Now in his 70th year Pieter-Dirk Uys still uses humour as a weapon of mass distraction and believes that his definition of optimism – expecting the worst, hoping that the worst will never be as bad as he imagines – underlines the need for citizens of our democracy to get involved with the protection of their freedoms and leading by example.
A theatrical-action-documentary telling the life story of South African performing artist and activist Pieter-Dirk Uys. Nobody’s Died Laughing tells the story of this legendary man, from an extra-ordinary country and the phenomenal power of laughter, through archive footage, his performances and interviews.
Pieter-Dirk Uys was born in Cape Town in 1945 and has been in the theatre since the mid-1960s. Closely associated with both the Space Theatre in Cape Town and Johannesburg’s Market Theatre during the 1970s and 1980s, he has written and performed 20 plays and over 30 revues and one-man shows throughout South Africa and abroad.
He was awarded South Africa’s prestigious Truth and Reconciliation Award in 2001. He has received honorary degrees from Rhodes University, University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Kwazulu Natal. As well, Pieter-Dirk Uys’s celebrated alter-ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, proudly received the Living Legacy 2000 Award in San Diego, USA. In 2011 Uys was honoured with a lifetime achievement Teddy award at the Berlin International Film Festival, and in 2012 he received both the FW de Klerk Goodwill Award and the German-Africa Award.
Most of Pieter-Dirk’s satirical work was available in South Africa on video (and still is, on DVD) and so, in spite of government censorship during apartheid, he built up a very large multiracial audience. Members of the present democratic parliament remember seeing his videos while in exile and in prison! He has been seen on SABC since the late 1970s in a variety of programmes.
A prolific writer in many genres, his novel, Trekking to Teema, was South Africa’s first internet book in 2000, before being published in tree-format. He has also written Evita Bezuidenhout’s biography, A Part Hate A Part Love, as well as a book based on his 12-part 1994 MNET television series, Funigalore, in which Evita Bezuidenhout, his most famous creation, interviewed the new democratic government’s leaders, including Nelson Mandela.
Since 2000 Pieter-Dirk Uys has been travelling around South Africa, visiting over 1.5 million school children, as well as prisons and reformatories, with a free AIDS-awareness entertainment called For Facts Sake!. He has also released a corporate AIDS-information video, Having Sex with Pieter-Dirk Uys, as well as the family-friendly video, Survival Aids, and Just a Small Prick!, a treatment of the fears surrounding testing for HIV.
Recent successes include Evita for President, Elections & Erections, Desperate First Ladies, and F.A.K. Songs and Other Struggle Anthems, a cabaret revue featuring Bambi Kellermann with her Bokkie Band. During 2012 Uys launched his latest one-man onslaught, Adapt or Fly, throughout South Africa, with extended seasons in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town, and later toured it to Namibia, while in 2013 he added An Audience with Pieter-Dirk EISH! to his repertoire, and premiered a new Bambi Kellermann cabaret, 50 Shades of Bambi, at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town. Highlights of 2014 included sold-out seasons of Adapt or Fly in Cape Town and Johannesburg and a two-week run of An Audience with Pieter-Dirk Uys at London’s Soho Theatre.
Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story (http://pdudarlingmovie.wordpress.com/), a documentary about Uys’s Aids-awareness presentations, directed by New Zealander Julian Shaw, is being shown worldwide.