Pieter-Dirk Uys

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Pieter-Dirk Uys (1945-) is a South African actor, dramatist, impersonator, comedian, political satirist and author. His personal website describes him as "author, actor and activist". [1]





Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance


Born in Cape Town on September 28, 1945, studied drama at the University of Cape Town. As a student at UCT he performed (under the name Pieter Uys) in Little Malcolm and his Struggle against the Eunuchs by ????* at the Little Theatre in 1967 with Peter Kruger and Wilson Dunster and directed by Mavis Taylor. *** When to the London Film School, where he wrote and produced Faces in the Wall (1969). Returned to join the Space Theatre as a very active actor, writer and director. While there he wrote Popcorn (1973), Pity About People (1974), Selle Ou Storie (1974), Snow White and the Special Branch, God’s Forgotten, Just Hilda! (1974), Karnaval and Kitsch, and did an adaptation of The Happy Prince. As actor he appeared in People are Living There, Skyvers/Jollers, ‘Tis Pity she’s a Whore, A Different Shade of Grey, Don’t walk about with Nothing On, I’ll Ring for more Toast, Just Hilda, Karnaval, The Maids, A Man Hanging, Muzeeka and Ooh! La-La. He also directed Pity About People, Popcorn, Selle Ou Storie, Snow White and the Special Branch, Superman, Tis Pity she’s a Whore, A Tribute to Noel Coward– Fumed Oak and Red Peppers We Bombed in New Haven, Cop Out, Faces in the Wall, Fortune and Men’s Eyes, God’s Forgotten, I’ll Ring for more Toast, Just Hilda, Karnaval, Kitsch and Muzeeka. As designer he worked on Pity About People, Selle Ou Storie, ‘Tis Pity she’s a Whore, We Bombed in New Haven, Cop Out, Faces in the Wall, Fortune and Men’s Eyes, God’s Forgotten, Karnaval, Kitsch, Muzeeka and Ooh! La-La. After his spell with The Space he became a free-lance performer. Initially a performer and playwright, he continued to make his name with bilingual realist comedies and tragedies with a strong political message, set in Cape Town, and gradually stand-up satires. These include the immensely popular and long running satire Die Van Aardes van Grootoor (lit “The Van Aardes [i.e. ‘those of the earth’] of Big Ear”) at the Baxter Theatre and Market Theatre – where he opened the Laager in 1978, Hell is for Whites Only (19**), Adapt or Dye (1981), Die Vleiroos (“The Marsh Rose”, the first Afrikaans play commissioned for the Grahamstown Festival’s main festival, 198*), No Space in Long Street (a celebration of the Space Theatre, performed in the Baxter 1997, published in SATJ 1997) ***, ****. Towards the end of the 1970s he began doing impersonations of politicians and creating a number of popular characters, the most notable being Evita Bezuidenhout, whose persona became so strong that she finally became Uys’s public alter ego, and has had a string of productions of her own, including a TV chat show for a while (See also Bezuidenhout, Evita). His numerous one-man shows include Farce About Uys, Hell is for Whites Only (19**), Adapt or Dye (1981), One Man, One Volt (1994) , ****, ****, Tannie Evita Praat Kaktus (lit: “Aunt Evita Talks Cactus”, 19**), **, An Audience With Pieter-Dirk Eish! (2012-13), *. In 199* he moved to the town of Darling, where he bought the old station and built Evita se Perron (“Evita’s Station Platform”), a small theatre and restarurant complex where he performs regularly. Uys has toured extensively, nationally and internationally, to wide acclaim. He has also recorded and filmed a number of his shows, and has (as Evita) hosted his own TV show. Another facet of his work is the enormous amount of charity and community work he has done to create understanding, tolerance and health awareness. Among the many awards he has received are the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor in Waiting for Godot (1980), the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Best Leading Actor in Adapt or Dye (1981), ***, ***, *** . In 2000, during their celebration of “women who led us into the 21st century”, the Womens International Center presented Uys with the Living Legacy 2000 Award, for his contribution as “Evita Bezuidenhout”. At the 1989 Grahamstown Festival he was presented with a special award for his contribution to the National Arts Festival and to South African theatre in general by the 1820 Foundation. UYS, Pieter-Dirk. His Pity About People was staged at the Blue Fox in 1975. His Selle ou Storie starring Christine Basson was staged at the Chelsea Theatre in 1975. His bilingual God’s Forgotten, co-starring Christine Basson, Magda Beukes and Lynne Maree was staged at Upstairs at The Market in 1976. He wrote and directed Paradise is Closing Down at Upstairs at the Market in 1978. He was the artistic director of the Laager Theatre upon opening. His Die Van Aardes van Grootoor directed by Dawie Malan and starring himself, Magda Beukes, Johan Botha, Lida Botha, Antoinette Kellermann, Nomsa Nene and Rina Nienaber was the opening production at the Laager in September 1978. He directed Mannie Manim’s production of Larry Gelbart’s Sly Fox starring Patrick Mynhardt, Graham Armitage and Peter J. Elliott for The Company at the Market in 1979. His Die Van Aardes moved into the main theatre at The Market in 1979. His Info Scandals directed by Dawie Malan was staged at The Laager in 1979. Together with his sister, Tessa Uys, and Thoko Ntshinga he starred in Uyscreams with Hot Chocolate Sauce at the Laager in 1980. He starred in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot together with Winston Ntshona and John Kani. It was directed by Donald Howarth and staged at the Baxter and at the Market in 1980 before leaving for the USA and Britain. His Karnaval was directed by Dawie Malan and starred Magda Beukes, Lida Botha, Dale Cutts and Joey de Koker at Upstairs at the Market in 1981. His Adapt or Dye was staged at the Market Café in 1981. His Farce About Uys starring himself, Thoko Ntshinga and Chris Galloway was staged at the Market in June 1983. His The Rise and Fall of the First Empress Bonaparte was staged by PACT, directed by William Egan and starring Jacqui Singer, Ron Smerczak and Michael McCabe was staged at the Alexander in 1983. His Selle ou Storie starring Christine Basson was staged Wits University Theatre in 1983. His Beyond the Rubicon was staged at the Market in September 1986. He co-presented Panorama with Basil Rubin at the Alexander in 1987. He presented Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the S.A. Bothatanic with Chris Galloway in 1987 and in December of the same year they joined forces again in Uys’ Cry Freemandela – The Movie. His Just Like Home was the opening production of the newly refurbished Laager in 1989. His Scorched Earth was staged in 1989. Janice Honeyman directed him in A Kiss on Your Koeksister at the Warehouse in 1990. He starred in and wrote the satire An Evening with Evita Bezuidenhout which was staged during the festive season in 1990. A reworking of Paradise is Closing Down saw Uys starring together with Chris Galloway at the Wits University in 1992. His The Poggenpoel Sisters was staged in 1993. His One Man, One Volt was staged in April 1994. * Same Old Story (2004) Darling: The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story by Pieter-Dirk Uys. A film. First produced in 2007 dir: Julian Shaw (www.darlingmovie.com.au)

After the first democratic elections in South Africa (1994), Uys wrote his first scripted play since 1991, Auditioning Angels (2003).

Plays and Monologues written by Uys

Faces in the Wall (London Film School, 1969; Space Theatre, 1973; Market Theatre 1980)

Popcorn (Space Theatre, 1973)

Pity About People (Space Theatre, 1974; The Company, 1974)

Selle Ou Storie (Space Theatre, 1974; The Company, 1975; Johannesburg Civic Theatre, 2004)

God's Forgotten (Space Theatre, 1975; Market Theatre 1976)

Karnaval (Space Theatre, 1975; Market Theatre 1981)

Skote! (Jan van Riebeeck High School, Cape Town, 1976)

The Rise and Fall of the First Empress Bonaparte (UCT students, 1977; PACT, 1983)

Paradise is Closing Down (Grahamstown Festival, 1977; Market Theatre 1977)

Die Van Aardes van Grootoor (Baxter Theatre 1977; Market Theatre 1978)

Hell is for Whites Only (aka ’’Beyond All Reason’’) (Market Theatre 1982)

Appassionata (Pretoria, 1982; Baxter Theatre 1982; Market Theatre 1982)

Farce About Uys (Baxter Theatre 1983; Market Theatre 1983)

Panorama (Grahamstown Festival, 1987; Pretoria 1988; Johannesburg 1988; Cape Town, 1988)

Just Like Home (Baxter Theatre 1989; Market Theatre 1989)

Scorched Earth (Market Theatre 1989)

Die Vleiroos (Nico Malan Theatre 1992; Johannesburg Civic Theatre, 1995)

Paradise is Closing Down (Revisited) (aka "Going to Heaven") (Grahamstown Festival, 1992; Johannesburg, 1992)

Tannie Evita Praat Kaktus (A monologue, Evita se Perron, 1996)

Ouma Ossewania Praat Vuil (A monologue, Evita se Perron, 1997; KKNK 1997)

No Space on Long Street (Baxter Theatre, 1997)

Going Down Gorgeous (Evita se Perron, 1998; on tour, 1998)

Noël & Marlene (Evita se Perron, 1998; on tour, 1998)

Tannie Evita’s Crystal Balls (A monologue, Evita se Perron, 1998)

The Marshrose (1999)

Tannie Evita’s Cooksisters (A monologue, Evita se Perron, 2000)

Auditioning Angels (Grahamstown Festival, 2003; Pieter Toerien's Studio at Montecasino, 2003; Theatre on the Bay, 2003)

Same Old Story - English translation of Selle Ou Storie (Johannesburg Civic Theatre, 2004)

MacBeki (Little Theatre, Cape Town, 2009; Market Theatre, 2009)

Revues and Cabaret Shows written by Uys

Just Hilda! (Space Theatre, 1974)

Snow White and the Special Branch (Space Theatre, 1974; Labia Theatre, 1976)

Strike Up The Banned (Space Theatre, 1975; Grahamstown Festival, 1976; Market Theatre 1978)

Info Scandals (Pretoria, 1979; Baxter Theatre 1979; Market Theatre 1979)

Uyscreams from the Wimpy Archipelago (Market Theatre 1980)

Uyscreams with Hot Chocolate Sauce (Market Theatre 1980; Baxter Theatre 1980)

Adapt or Dye (premiere production 1981)

Total Onslaught (Pretoria, 1984; Baxter Theatre 1984; Market Theatre 1984)

Beyond the Rubicon (Market Theatre 1986; Nico Malan Theatre, 1986)

Rearranging the Deckchairs on the SA Bothatanic (Market Theatre 1987; Baxter Theatre 1987)

Cry Freemandela – The Movie (Market Theatre 1987; Nico Malan Theatre 1988)

A Kiss on Your Koeksister (Market Theatre 1990; Baxter Theatre 1990)

An Audience with Evita Bezuidenhout (Market Theatre 1990; Baxter Theatre 1990)

An Evening with Pieter-Dirk Uys (Baxter Theatre 1992)

The Poggenpoel Sisters (Cape Town, 1993; Johannesburg, 1993; on tour, 1993)

An Audience with an African Queen (1993)

One Man One Volt (Tour of South Africa, 1994)

Bambi Sings the FAK Songs (A "Cabaret") (Cape Town, 1995; Johannesburg, 1995; on tour, 1995)

You ANC Nothing Yet (Baxter Theatre 1995; on tour, 1995)

Truth Omissions (Baxter Theatre 1996; on tour, 1996)

Live from Boerassic Park (Baxter Theatre 1997; on tour, 1997)

Bambi’s Xmas Kêrels (Evita se Perron, 1998)

Dekaffirnated (Market Theatre 1999; Baxter Theatre 1999; on tour, 1999)

Concentration Camp - a cabaret (Evita se Perron, 2000; Grahamstown Festival, 2000)

For Facts Sake (Evita se Perron, 2000; on tour, 2000)

Symbols of Sex and State (2000)

Foreign Aids (Evita se Perron, 2001; on tour, 2002)

The End is Naai (Evita se Perron, 2004; on tour, 2004) (Known as Elections and Erections for the tour of the UK and Australia)

Icons and Aikonas (Evita se Perron, 2005)

Pieter-Dirk Eish! (Market Theatre, 2006)

Hello Darling (Evita se Perron, 2005)

Evita for President (Spier Amphitheatre, 2007; Market Theatre, 2007; Baxter Theatre, 2007; Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, 2007)

Fe-Fa-Fo-Fum (Evita se Perron, 2010)

Desperate First Ladies (Evita se Perron, 2010)

FAK Songs and Other Struggle Anthems - a cabaret (Cape Town, 2000)

Die Poggenpoels Praat (South African tour, 2011)

Autobiographical Works

Uys, Pieter-Dirk 1978. Saga of the Die Selle Ou Storie. Speak, 1(2):53-57.March-April.

Uys, Pieter-Dirk 1986. No-one’s Died Laughing. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Uys, Pieter-Dirk 1995. Funigalore: Evita’s Real-life Adventures in Wonderland. London: Penguin.

Uys, Pieter-Dirk 2002. Elections and Erections: A Memoir of Fear and Fun. Cape Town: Zebra.

Uys, Pieter-Dirk 2005. Between the Devil and the Deep: A Memoir of Acting and Reacting. Cape Town: Zebra.

Awards, etc


Pieter-Dirk Uys website [2]

Evita se Perron website [3]

Wikipedia [4]

Afrikaans Wikipedia [5]

Tucker, 1997.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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