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GRAHAMSTOWN - PIETER-DIRK UYS (article first published : 1999-06-21)

For most people, coping with one production at any festival (however large or small) is enough. But not Pieter-Dirk Uys. Never one to follow the herd, he is taking no less than five productions to Grahamstown in celebration of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival's 25th Anniversary

One of the shows is Going Down Gorgeous featuring the ultimate kugel survivor, Nowell Fine. Spanning the years 1981 to 2004 this is the saga of a white liberal in the old South Africa and Comrade Madam in the new.

Dekaffirnatedis Uys' new look at black and white in a fading Rainbow Nation on the eve of the birth of a new millennium and specifically deals with the power of language and the use of certain words to imprison and degrade.

Both these shows have been reviewed in artsmart (see under DRAMA) but the reviews will only be a guideline as Pieter-Dirk Uys not only moves the goal posts but often shifts the playing fields as well according to the current events of the day.

As always, Evita Bezuidenhout refuses to be left out of the limelight and inTannie Evita Praat Kaktus, she solves problems, offers advice and takes audiences on a walk down the roads of truth, transparency, designer democracy and politically incorrect opinion. Truth and Reconciliation? Somewhere in there Evita believes thereís a `coní!

Alone and neglected in an old age home at the age of 99 is Evitaís mother, Ouma Ossewania Poggenpoel. She has her own show, Ouma Ossewania Praat Vuil, and in this extremely well-knit solo piece, Pieter-Dirk proves what a compassionate actor he can be as well as an acute observer of the human psyche. Not for those liable to be sensitive to some extremely rude Afrikaans language!

On a slightly different note, Pieter-Dirk Uys teams up with Godfrey Johnson to present a witty, entertaining and nostalgic show entitledNoŽl and Marlene. This is a whimsical and fictional account of a visit in 1953 by the legendary Marlene Dietrich to dramatist and songwriter NoŽl Coward in his New York apartment. Together the two famous friends make magic and music in the world of 'what could have been'.


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