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RETURN OF ELVIS DU PISANIE (article first published : 2004-03-28)

Durban and Hilton audiences are in for a real theatrical treat with the staging of Paul Slabolepszy’s smash hit The Return of Elvis du Pisanie at the Hilton College Theatre and at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in April.

The Return of Elvis du Pisanie is Paul Slabolepszy’s brilliant one-hander which was first performed in July, 1992. It has the distinction of having won more awards (in a single year) than any other play in the history of South African theatre - 1993 Vita, Fleur du Cap and Dalro awards included best new South African play, best actor, best production, best director - as well as The Star Tonight/IGI Life Vita award for comedy. It has also been presented, by invitation, in Washington DC and Chicago, USA.

Performed by Paul Slabolepszy himself, the story revolves around Eddie du Pisanie, a 46 year old East Rand salesman, who is retrenched and decides life is no longer worth living. He writes a suicide note to his wife and is about to gas himself in his car in the garage, when he switches on the car radio. The Elvis Presley song he hears does more than take him back 30 years - it recalls an event in his childhood that changed his life forever.

For the moment abandoning the idea of suicide, he drives the 200 kilometre journey to the town in which he grew up, to a lamppost opposite the ex-Carlton bioscope in Witbank, there to retrace his life, to try to find out what went wrong, how it went wrong, and - perhaps most importantly - why it went wrong.

The story moves from pure nostalgia, through extreme heartache, to unbridled joy. The Return of Elvis du Pisanie is all at once sad, amusing and gloriously uplifting. The production played to critical acclaim in Durban in 1992:

Performances in Durban are from April 28 to May 22, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 and at the Hilton College Theatre on April 22 and 23 at 19h30.

Organisations interested in purchasing low-priced previews in Durban to raise funds can contact 031 201 1650. For the Durban run, there are pensioner, scholar and group discounts with booking through Computicket (credit card bookings on 011-3408000 or 083 915 8000 or on www.computicket.com). For Hilton, there are pensioner and scholar tickets and bookings can be made by calling Hilton College Theatre on 033 383 0126 during office hours.




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