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#HeTwo:

Evita Exposed!

***** #HeTwo: Evita exposed! — review

– Robyn Cohen, The Cape Robyn, 5 September 2019

 

SATIRICAL-THEATRE, Cape Town: Pieter-Dirk Uys presents #HeTwo: Evita exposed! Theatre On The Bay, Camps Bay, August 28 to September 14, 2019.

 

Performer: Pieter-Dirk Uys

Director/concept/everything: Pieter-Dirk Uys

Film newsreel (docu-satire), screened on stage: compiled by Stefan Hunter.

 

Characters: Pieter-Dirk Uys and six others — who exist and may be real — headed up by the alpha womxn (what is the singular for womxn?) — Evita Bezuidenhout, Pik Botha etc.

 

#HeTwo: Evita exposed! is Pieter-Dirk Uys’ elegiac homage/elegy/shout-out to Nelson Mandela and his dream of the Rainbow Nation. It’s a celebratory and harrowing 90 minutes of bitingly spirited live theatre.

 

In #HeTwo: Evita exposed!, PDU exposes himself to us and leaves us exposed to what is playing out before us. This is theatre of raw, cold, confrontation — on the coalface of the stage. Beautifully presented, the show is a masterful mélange of live performance/impressions and bioscope.

 

The artist holds forth on stage — as himself — and transforms into six characters (fictional and “real”). Behind him, is a screen, spliced with film footage — scenes from Evita Bezuidenhout’s four decades on the boards of stage and politics (schmoozing with Madiba and politicians, giving talks, accepting awards, interviewing politicians on her TV show Funigalore). The film conjures up a sense of the old style African Mirror newsreel clips that we watched at the bioscope, as a prelude to the main feature. These were the days before TV and Netflix. Our news was censored by the Apartheid regime.

 

The film is formatted as Evita Bezuidenhout’s obituary. Onstage, David Attenborough (aka PDU) reminisces about the most famous white woman in South Africa. PDU (as himself — but who is his “self”?) riffs off the fact that you can’t kill someone who is not real and that segues into “just because you are a not real, it doesn’t mean that you don’t exist.” With #HeToo, there are obvious allusions to the #MeToo movement and the fact that boys and men are abused daily –- in Hollywood; in the Catholic Church, wherever. PDU is not missing his opportunity to make that point and it’s a point that is well made.

 

But the #HeToo premise is a nifty artistic device for Evita and PDU to share the stage together and to finally have a conversation. He said: “I have never confronted Evita. Never thought I could. #MeToo became #HeTwo.” Evita heckles him that it’s not politically correct for a man to dress up as a woman and further, it’s not politically correct for him to impersonate black people. That is the fun part of the show and provides comic relief and release in a dark show which is unflinchingly confrontational and not a joke.

 

As to whether Evita will or won’t strut out again. It doesn’t matter. PDU, blithely snips at that one: Why would he kill off the golden goose? Evita’s “death” is not the point of this show. In an interview, last week, prior to seeing the show, I put it to him that an obit, is as an opportunity to look back on a life — in this case — the many lives of the most famous white woman who is not a real woman. He countered: “No, the first impression is an obituary but then it becomes a tribute not just to her but to us who believed in her.”

 

Therein lies the crunch: belief. I think that PDU’s belief in the magic of Evita has dimmed. In our interview, he mused that he is using the obit “to celebrate 25 years of democracy”. Well, “celebrate: is the term that he used. I don’t think that it’s a celebration that he is presenting. I think that the show is rooted in a sense of utter despair over his beloved country; a country that he is nonetheless devoted to and committed to — a hundred percent. His despair stretches to the world at large — the lunacy and evil of politicians globally; rise of populism, right-wingers, agents of hate speech, corruption, violence. (His despair certainly feeds off the current state of despair in SA as we reel from the recent spate of rape, violence and murder. Despair is everywhere. Look at what’s going on in the UK with Brexit and the massive surge of anti-Semitism, hate speech; murder, terror.)

 

Despair aside, we return to Evita. In recent years, Evita as the retired former ambassador to Bapetikosweti (the fictitious homeland in Apartheid SA) has been behind the scenes “cooking for reconciliation”. She was the ultimate Rainbow Nation Poster Woman. She embraced the Rainbow Nation — ruptures and all. She adapted. She looked glamorous and fabulous. She was the ultimate positivist. Evita doesn’t do irony. She does not smirk or jest. We loved that. We needed that. She embodied scenes that we wanted to see in the New South Africa: Evita with Madiba and others.

 

And now? PDU as her creator; he is still devoted to his country but he despairs. Yup, back to the D word. For me, watching the clips play out from Evita’s journey, there is a sense of incredulity by PDU as he sits on the side of the stage, watching as we watch. He knows that he wrote her lines and pulled her strings but there is a sense of disbelief at how Evita in her own right beguiled and charmed everyone — from the gag-bag of politicians to children but especially Madiba who loved Evita.

 

When Madiba mingled with Evita shortly after becoming president, he famously admonished PDU to put the wig back on. He preferred Evita. He did not want Pieter. People were utterly enchanted by the Evita magic. She gave talks around the world; met with dignitaries. PDU was no-where in the frame.

 

It’s extraordinary to watch the artist watching himself dissolving into his creation and almost gasping out aloud at the magnificence of Evita. He is just a bloke sitting on a stage, watching the Most Famous White Woman in South Africa.

 

What we see in #HeTwo: Evita exposed! represents a tiny slice of team Evita and PDU. Away from the theatre. #They have been not only on stage and telly but have been out on the road, working with young people. This is where PDU is unfailingly in his positivism. He did an “election trek" in 1999 –- voter education through entertainment –- ten thousand kilometers, 63 shows in townships and squatter camps and cities and also how ". In 2000, he emailed schools offering a free show, promoting safe sex and demystifying AIDS. About 400,000 children (around 200 schools) saw his shows. In a 2002 interview he told me that he did not accept payment to cover costs such as travelling expenses: "Ja, I get in my car with my coldrink bottle and Tannie Evita in my boot and off I go".

 

So, ja, away from stage, film, telly and hitting the celeb circuit, team #TheyToo have made a very real impact on this country — fighting against AIDS, hate-ism, ignorance. And we haven’t mentioned his theatre in Darling — EVITA SE PERRON; the employment that the venue has generated; the art and theatre programmes that he has funded — solo.

 

Evita is incomparable and so is PDU. PDU is 73 and Evita is a decade older — 83. (PDU turns 74 on September 28. He was born in 1945). They feed off each other. It’s thrilling to see them heckle each other on stage.

 

#HeTwo: Evita exposed! is an opportunity to watch PDU pay homage to the legacy of Madiba and to reflect deeply — what that means for us and how we conduct ourselves. Cultural activism doesn’t cover the tip of what PDU — and Evita — have ignited in this country — away from the adoration and lights of showbiz. As to labels, in my interview last week, when asked how he feels about being tagged as a jester or what-what — PDU scoffed that he is “just an entertainer”. We are taking hours out of our day to make the effort to watch him and he must entertain us, he said. That is his job. True and there is mirth in #HeTwo: Evita exposed! We are entertained; transfixed by the film and the artist. But, there is much to mull over and reflect on and this is not a jokester or comic who is just there for laughs. In the past, he said that he was urging us to laugh at our fears — of the unknown. Now? It’s more like we are all gagging on reality.

 

Don’t miss this extraordinary show by the incomparable, legendary Pieter-Dirk Uys — as himself and as he steps into the skins of real and un-real figures. Do not miss.

 

Visit Evita se Perron's YouTube channel, where more than 200 episodes of ‘Evita’s Free Speech’ can be viewed, with a new episode added every Sunday.

 

Pieter-Dirk Uys presents #HeTwo: Evita exposed!, Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay, August 28 to September 14, 2019. Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm and on Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm. Tickets cost from R150 through Computicket, 08619158000 and the theatre box office on 0214383301.

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#HETWO: EVITA EXPOSED at Theatre On The Bay is Full of Heart and Belly Laughs

– Faeron Wheeler, Broadway World, 4 September.2019  

 

It's billed as a unique confrontation where Pieter-Dirk Uys and Evita Bezuidenhout finally come face to face. However, it's so much more than that. This show feels like a love letter to the nation's favourite tannie.

 

The simple setting of a table and chair off to one side and a projector and screen at the back is all Uys needs to help us and him relive some of the highlights of his career and Evita's extraordinary life. As a huge fan of both, I found the start somewhat terrifying — we are at tannie Evita's funeral and some the various characters she has interacted with over the years have come to say their farewells and to tell stories. Thankfully this was really just a way to introduce the concept of looking back and the world does not have to say farewell to Evita. I know I'm not ready for that!

 

But what an incredible trip down memory lane. It must have been quite something for Uys to dust off some of his characters and bring them to life again. You could tell that the audience was loving it. There's something special about the contrast of the familiar on stage but giving us new jokes and new takes on old stories.

 

The projector and screen on stage were used to show old photos and clips from televisions shows and broadcast events where Evita featured. What a treat to look back at all these moments in our history. I got goose bumps thinking about the impact that Uys and his creation of Evita have had on the world.

 

To me, the most fascinating part of the entire show was listening to Uys talk about his shared history with Evita. She is so real to him, and to most of South Africa if we're honest. It was almost as if Uys was trying to work out if she is actually real and he is merely impersonating her as he does so many other famous people. The title of the show, #HeTwo, was obviously inspired by the conversation sparked by the #MeToo movement. However, Uys was really looking at the two people he lives with: himself and herself.

 

If I'm honest, I wanted more. I wanted to really delve into this psychological and almost existential question of does Evita really exist. There is a fantastic moment of confrontation between the two at the end, which I loved, but felt it could've been pushed further. This might just be me though, who always wants to get to the bottom of the thought process...

 

It is a great show with a lot of heart and a lot of laughs. The audience members all came out with smiles on their faces on opening night. It was classic Pieter-Dirk Uys and classic Evita Bezuidenhout: thought-provoking, funny, from the heart and on point with the current popular conversation.

 

#HETWO: EVITA EXPOSED will be performed at Theatre on the Bay until 14 September. Tickets cost R150R220 and bookings can be made at Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.

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#HeTwo: Evita deur Pieter se oë

– Cliffordene Norton, Litnet, 5 September 2019

 

“Net omdat sy nie bestaan nie, beteken dit nie sy is nie ’n werklike persoon nie,” sê Pieter-Dirk Uys oor sy alter ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, tydens sy jongste toneelstuk, #HeTwo: Evita exposed! wat tot 14 September 2019 by Theatre on the Bay, Kampsbaai, te sien is.

 

Tydens dié toneelstuk herbeleef die gehoor hoogtepunte van tannie Evita se lewe.

 

Die produksie begin met ’n huldeblyk oor Evita wat deur Pieter onderbreek word met die woorde: “Hoe kan sy sterf indien sy nooit bestaan het nie? Slegs ek kan haar doodmaak, want ek het haar geskep.”

 

Saam met hom (en ’n paar bekende gesigte) kry die gehoor ’n agter-die-skerms-kykie na hoe Evita ontstaan het en wat sy tydens haar veertig jaar as ’n bekende en geliefde Suid-Afrikaanse figuur ervaar het.

 

Hoe het Evita haar naam gekry? Watter emosies het Evita beleef toe sy oudpresident Nelson Mandela vir die eerste keer ontmoet het?  

 

Die leser kry ook dieper insig in die akteur. “Ek het ook egter agter hierdie karakter geskuil,” erken Pieter tydens sy optrede, voor hy uitbrei oor die mag van Evita. Sy kon kommentaar lewer oor die politieke omstandighede wanneer hy nie kon nie. Sy kon die politici bespot en hulle het saam met haar gelag.

 

Tydens die toneelstuk deel hy ’n staaltjie oor toe hy ’n onderhoud met Nelson Mandela gaan voer het.

 

“Ek het opgedaag en gevra vir ’n plek om aan te trek. Ek is gewys na die damesbadkamers, wat leeg was. Ek was besig om my grimering op te sit, toe drie skoonmakers instap. Hulle het gevra of hulle mag kyk hoe ek aantrek. Ek het gedink ek kry ’n gehoor; ek het drie van die sterkste kritici gekry. Vir meer as twintig jaar sit ek grimering aan, maar skielik het ek dit nie reg gedoen nie. Toe ek Evita se hare aansit, staan hulle op en maak verskoning. Ek het niks gedoen nie; Evita het opgedaag.”  

 

Die #HeTwo-toneelstuk se titel is ’n duidelike speling op die #MeToo-beweging wat teen seksuele misbruik protesteer, en Pieter het ook tydens die produksie vlugtig aktuele sake soos die bendegeweld op die Kaapse Vlakte en die huidige politieke klimaat van bedrog, rassisme en homofobie aangeraak.

 

Selfs met hierdie gewigtige temas het ek met ’n ligter hart uitgestap.

 

Tydens die produksie prys Pik Botha, Desmond Tutu en Suid-Afrika se huidige president, Cyril Ramaphosa, Evita se invloed op die land.

 

Pieter neem die gehoor ook terug na Suid-Afrika kort na Madiba se vrylating: “Watter land sou Suid-Afrika nie gewees het indien ons Nelson Mandela se Rivonia-verhoor kon aanskou het nie? Waar sou ons gewees het? Met sy toespraak in Kaapstad na sy vrylating het ons gedink: Die verlede was dalk onseker, maar die toekoms is nou veilig,” vertel hy oor dié tyd.

 

Die produksie is ’n volle uur en ’n half en nie een keer kry jy die begeerte om op jou selfoon te loer nie. Jy is vasgevang deur die gebeure op die verhoog en dit spreek van Pieter-Dirk Uys se vermoë.

 

Hy was uitstekend, wat nie ’n verrassing was nie. Ek het die humor verwag, maar die hoop vir die toekoms waarmee ek uitgestap het, het my onkant betrap.

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Don’t miss this retrospective of the life of Evita Bezuidenhout at Theatre On The Bay

– Bianca Coleman, Eat.Play.Drink Cape Town, 2 September 2019

 

AS Desmond Tutu says: “Evita Bezuidenhout is not a woman; Evita Bezuidenhout is a legend.” Together with Pieter-Dirk Uys, she has been part of our lives for close to 40 years and to refer to them both as national treasures is not an overstatement.

 

PDU’s new show at Theatre On The Bay, #HeTwo, opens with the unthinkable — the apparent death of the most famous white woman in South Africa. But, as Uys asks the audience, how can someone who doesn’t exist, die? And why do so many people keep thinking she’s real? Probably because for so many of us, she is very real.

 

Taking to the almost-bare stage in this intimate theatre, Uys guides us on the journey of Evita’s life, going all the way back to before she was the wife of a National Party Minister in the Verwoerd Cabinet, and then the South African Ambassador in the Independent black homeland republic of Bapetikosweti. History is revealed through old footage and looking back on it now, how on earth did Tannie Evita manage to get Piet Koornhof into a mustard yellow suit, ruffled blouse, stockings and wig — on television? With her?! It’s only a small indication of her amazing powers.

 

During this retrospective we see Evita being honoured and adored, and her meetings and interviews with politicians, as well as her widely-rumoured affair with Pik Botha. Have a giggle at her fishing adventures with Cyril Ramaphosa, and if you can keep a dry eye as Uys recalls her meeting with Nelson Mandela then, well, you’re a stronger woman than me.

 

Between the AV component of the show, Uys addresses the gathering in various guises — himself, and a selection of the characters he has lampooned over the decades. Heck, I remember seeing him during the dark old days and wondering how on earth he got away with what he did. The role Uys and Evita have played in our country’s history is indisputable.

 

#HeTwo is a title inspired by the #MeToo revolution, but in this case referring to the two people Uys has been responsible for during his long career as an entertainer: himself and herself. Naturally, this production wouldn’t be complete without Mrs Bezuidenhout making an appearance, and a passionate speech. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she was in charge of running this country?

 

#HeTwo is at Theatre On The Bay in Camps Bay, Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm, and on Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm, until September 14, 2019. Tickets cost from R150 through Computicket, 0861 915 8000 and the theatre box office on 021 438 3301. Visit Evita se Perron’s Youtube channel where more than 200 episodes of Evita’s Free Speech can be viewed, with a new episode added every Sunday.

 

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#HeTwo: Evita exposed!: Review

– Sheila Chisholm, Weekend Special, 31 August 2019

 

Chaotic is possibly the best word to describe current local and international politics.  Everywhere media headlines scream of conflicts and disasters, and leads one into thinking that nowhere in the world is there a peaceful corner or anything to laugh about. Even as spring flowers start showing, an atmosphere of gloom and doom prevails all around.

 

Yet, the only thing needed to dispel those dark clouds is to attend an evening with Pieter-Dirk Uys and the woman in his life — Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout … the past and present government’s Ambassadress to Bapetikosweti — a country as real as JM Barrie’s Never Never Land.

 

Uys is a rare human being. As a brilliant satirist, he single-handedly has taught us to laugh at ourselves, taught stiff nosed politicians to laugh at themselves, to believe our glass is half full never half empty, and his campaign amongst teenagers has changed many an attitude towards avoiding the HIV/Aids scourge and other STD’s by talking bluntly about sexual responsibility. What a man!

 

Koeksister adventures

 

In #HeTwo: Evita exposed! Uys reflects on his 38 year-long relationship with Evita, the amazing people she/he has met, and the adventures they’ve had along their journey together.

 

In his inimitable way Uys talked about how, from Evita’s first Market Theatre appearance in 1981 she hit the Golden Globe -– it can’t be called a performance. Evita is not an actress. She is a white Afrikaans woman whose trademark is delicious koeksisters.

 

In carefully preserved video clips, dressed in exotic gowns, garden party ‘hoede’, jewels to die (or steal) for, in her posh South African accent, Evita led us through the previous dispensation’s Apartheid absurdities.

 

Oh, yes! We laughed at her impersonations of Die Ou Krokodil, PW Botha’s “let me tell you” wagging pointer finger and innuendoes of thin moustached Pik Botha’s relationship with Evita. Oh, yes! We laughed. But underneath lay a potent message, that Apartheid’s designers and those on whom those policies were implemented were cruel, totally unjust and inhumane.

 

She told us how Nelson Mandela, enjoyed her company, and through her we remembered Mandela’s magic — what a shame the British people declined to knock Admiral Nelson off his column and replace him with the admirable Nelson Mandela.

 

Madiba’s release after 27 years of imprisonment, followed by his election as South Africa’s first democratically elected president raised every single South African to believe we were going forward into a glowing time where all citizens were given the right to a bed, food, a home and a decent education.

 

Without much emphasis on the ANC’s most recent past president’s disastrous exploits, Evita/Uys called upon us to throw away our half empty glasses, keep our half full one close by. For thereby we will pick ourselves up and with grateful thanks to Evita Bezuidenhout smile, laugh and move forward again.

 

As I took home my half full glass I wondered how is it possible that this young democracy could, in my, and others lifetime produce four legends — Nelson Mandela, Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Evita Bezuidenhout and Pieter-Dirk Uys. As the four have told us over and over, as a nation we are a great people. #HeTwo: Evita exposed! is memorable.

 

What: #HeTwo: Evita exposed! review

Where, when: Theatre on the Bay, Camps Bay, until 14 September 2019

Book: Computicket

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Scene It: #HeTwo, PDU's Evita exposé at Theatre on the Bay

– Beverley Brommert, Theatre Scene Cape Town, 30 August 2019

 

Just when it seems that damp tissues and tremulous obituaries are in order with the demise of the iconic Evita Bezuidenhout, an abrupt change of tone and mood brings us back to reality as Pieter-Dirk Uys exchanges the breathy reverence of Sir David Attenborough’s funeral oration for a business-like reassurance that he, PDU, would never be so ill-advised as to kill off his most lucrative creation. His appearance as himself, austerely clad in plain black basics and sans wig, punctuates impersonations of the many individuals with whom Ms Bezuidenhout has bonded over the last four decades, giving an elegant structure to this new show as it traces her remarkable biography.

 

The comedian’s ingenuity as well as his gift for the unexpected are the chief strengths of #HeTwo: Evita Exposed, the spelling of the latter word attesting to PDU’s mental agility as he manipulates the familiar hash-tag to suggest duality instead of its usual connotations. And duality is what it’s all about as the creator and his creation, male and female, share the stage thanks to videos evoking the life and times of Tannie Evita. This provides an ideal vehicle for Uys’ exceptional versatility as he morphs from one persona to another with minimal help from make-up and costume, his facial repertoire and body-language more than equal to supplying whatever else is necessary.

 

With enviable aplomb, he constructs and deconstructs his alter ego before our eyes, now applying false eyelashes, now wiping off lipstick with a practiced confidence honed since 1981, when he first introduced us to this woman on April 1st — a significant date… The same approach is generally made to portraying the gamut of celebrities who also feature here as the performer doffs or dons wigs, spectacles, and the occasional hat to efface his own personality in favour of the person evoked. This not exactly new, however, and the only fault in an otherwise brilliant show is the revisiting of old and hoary material. While a sketch or two of the Bothas (PW and Pik) may be justified — especially in the case of the latter, whose relationship with Evita B was reputed to border on the inappropriate — these impersonations are now so familiar as to lose much of their impact, and their inclusion here is over-long.

 

What is far more stimulating is the existential question raised at the outset by Uys: “How can you kill someone who does not exist?”, followed, perversely, by proving that Evita Bezuidenhout has taken on a life and reality of her own which make her virtually independent of her creator. In true PDU fashion, the comedian reserves the biggest surprise for the end, like a chef keeping a superb dessert to round off a feast in style and send everyone home bemused and happy. In the midst of a florid speech extolling the new South Africa with a patriotism reminiscent of Shakespeare’s rave about “this sceptred isle… this other Eden” in King Richard II, Uys is suddenly pulled up short by an indignant outburst from Ms Bezuidenhout, dressed in identical attire to his own, as she rails against his crude impersonation of her. What could be more subversive? Or more delightfully thought-provoking? Or more typically PDU?

 

#HeTwo: Evita Exposed

Directed, Devised and Performed by Pieter-Dirk Uys

Venue: Theatre on the Bay, until September 14

Booking: www.computicket.com

Rating: 4

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#HETWO:

The award-winning satirist unpacks the politics of his new show

Cape Times, 27 August 2019   www.pdu.co.za   www.evita.co.za   @TannieEvita

 

Evita exposed! is on at Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town from tomorrow until September 14. In his new show, Pieter-Dirk Uys and Evita Bezuidenhout finally meet.

 

In a new show — #HeTwo: Evita exposed! — Pieter-Dirk Uys and Evita Bezuidenhout come face to face.

 

In this Q & A Pieter confronts Dirk — or is it vice versa?

 

Q: Is this your last show?

 

A: Every show’s a last show in the theatre, because tomorrow there’ll be a different audience, which means the timing is different, laughs come in new places and the energy is fresh and full.

 

Q: What is different in #HeTwo?

 

A: Well, Evita and I literally share the stage at the same time.

 

There’s so much footage I have of her since 1981 with famous and infamous people, entertaining the superstars, embracing Madiba and Tutu, making speeches in foreign lands — material which I can then balance with characters on stage who comment on Evita and the state of the world.

 

It’s also the first time ever that I leave the stage to change into a character.

 

Since 1981 I’ve always done it in the light, in front of everyone.

 

It feels like a farewell to Evita.

 

A: I’d be sorry to see her go, but again I’m led by the politics of the moment.

 

If President Cyril Ramaphosa appoints her as the South African Ambassador to Luxembourg, she’ll have to go.

 

Hope it won’t be to North Korea or New Zealand. That’s just too far to send a whisper across the world.

 

Q: What motivated #HeTwo?

 

A: The #MeToo movement has been a great motivator, because it’s time that women are heard, seen and respected as equals, and in many ways, unique leaders of society.

 

I thought about a #HeToo because it’s also men and boys who suffer the indignity of harassments and innuendo. Then, as with my 1981 revue Adapt or Dye, I had taken PW Botha’s ‘adapt or die’ and with a change in spelling created a new platform.

 

Hence #HeTwo — the two being me and my shadow, Mrs B.

 

Q: Political correctness has always been your bête noire. Can we say that word aloud still?

 

A: Apartheid was politically correct and for most of my life fighting the injustices meant that I was politically incorrect and often punished as a result.

 

To now suddenly wear the halo of political correctness in a democracy? For me it just doesn’t make sense.

 

Politics is never correct; it’s an adaptation of panic, illogicality, truth, lies, fear and futility.

 

If the fact that I impersonate people/ characters on stage — people who aren’t white — and ‘do’ superstars like Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, Jacob Zuma, and Desmond Tutu, is seen as politically incorrect and racist, toughies. It’s been my job as an entertainer for 40 years.

 

I’ve impersonated them all: black, white, brown, male, female and convertible.

 

Q: And the politics of the day?

 

A: In my work politics is the lifeblood of the drama. Satire is usually unleashed through bad politics that need to be made ridiculous, contemptuous and funny — even though it’s never funny in the ha-ha sense.

 

I believe that if we can laugh at our fear and make it less fearful, we’ll see beyond the barbed wire fence of fear. Laughing at fear doesn’t make it less lethal, but at least you’ve got your eye on it.

 

Keep your eye on it; give it a name — it will then never become taller than you. Look away and it becomes a 100-metre monster that will frighten you to death.

 

Also, there’s nothing more enjoyable than laughing at arrogant, crooked, useless politicians. They can’t take it. For example, The Donald in the White House.

 

Q: Who are the bad guys on your stage?

 

A: I don’t work with bad guys. I mention them, but I have to believe that the worst of my targets also has a sense of humour and certainly the charisma to become a chosen leader.

 

That demands a certain respect which gives the character belief. Brutal cartooning is easy.

 

One has great power on a stage. I never belittle or demean through my comedy.

 

Q: Do you deliver a message?

 

A: Yes! Come back for more!

 

Q: Do you ever find Evita funny?

 

A: Yes, because she has no sense of humour or sense of irony. When people laugh at her, she smiles and thinks it’s sweet.

 

It’s also the reason she’s survived for so long.

 

A sense of humour can get you into hot water and sadly we have a new young generation who seem to suffer from an irony bypass.

 

A bit like Tannie herself.

 

Q: Are you careful not to offend your audiences?

 

A: I’m careful not to insult patrons who can’t hit back. Demeaning people is cheap and nasty.

 

Making fun of those mentally or physically disabled is not my style. But to offend people?

 

Great! Shows I’ve rattled their cage of opinion, usually about politics.

 

So let them be offended and ask themselves: Why does he think that and I think this?

 

Changes of attitude and thought could be in the offing.

 

Q: Plans for the future?

 

A: You mean tomorrow? I’ve made my list. Looking forward to it!

 

My year used to have 365 days; now it has two days — today and tomorrow. Besides, I’m already in my future.

 

Q: And retirement?

 

A: Can’t spell the word.

 

Q: The Pieter-Dirk Uys legacy?

 

A: That’s a tough one. When you’re gone, you’re gone.

 

I just hope once I’ve finished my stay on the toilet of life, I flush before I go.

 

Q: Something people don’t know about you?

 

A: Lots. If I’m in a swimming pool and it rains, I get out because I don’t want to get wet.

 

Q: Any regrets?

 

A: Not regrets, but I’m interested in people who do wonderful things that I enjoy and would have loved doing myself if there was time.

 

But there’s only enough time to do what you do well.

 

Fear is the bitch. When you’re frightened, you can’t do anything.

 

But fear can also be your own reflection in the mirror of your mind. Save your life as an example to others.

 

Good luck — and come to the theatre.

 

#HeTwo: Evita exposed! is at Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town from August 28 to September 14 — book at Computicket.

 

The 2019 Voorkamerfest in Darling takes place on September 6, 7 and 8, www.voorkamerfest-darling.co.za

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Evita is still everyone’s favourite tannie

– Luke Folb, Weekend Argus, 25 August 2019

 

Cape Town – Evita Bezuidenhout is dead. The tannie from Darling has interviewed politicians, made both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu laugh, and apartheid foreign minister Pik Botha even started to believe the rumour he was having an affair with her.

 

But if Bezuidenhout doesn’t exist, how can she be deceased? Audiences might be a little alarmed to realise they’re attending the most famous white woman in South Africa’s funeral, but for the first time, she will come face-to-face with the man that has impersonated her for the last 40 years.

 

Pieter-Dirk Uys, 73, brings his latest production #HeTwo: Evita Exposed, to Cape Town this month for a limited run.

 

“Are you crazy? How can she die? The only one that can kill her is me and I’m not going to kill the golden goose that lays the eggs,” said Uys.

 

The #MeToo movement became the catalyst for his new show in what Uys described as “a hook to hang an argument on”, which led him to investigate the movement. In this case, he used #MeToo to refer to the two people Uys has been responsible for during his long career as an entertainer - himself and herself.

 

“I thought about doing #HeToo. I mean men and boys also get harassed especially when they are starting out in their lives.

 

“When I wrote down ‘too’ I looked at it and thought what about ‘two’ because that means me and her and it takes it into a totally different area and then I thought how do I put Evita on stage with me?”

 

Uys is also joined on stage by other characters whose paths Bezuidenhout has crossed — PW Botha and Pik Botha being the two most obvious but Sir David Attenborough also makes an appearance. During her remarkable four decades of existence in South African politics, first as the wife of a National Party minister in the Verwoerd cabinet and then as the South African ambassador in the fictional black homeland of Bapetikosweti, Evita Bezuidenhout has met remarkable superstars on the world stage.

 

But has Uys ever thought of killing off the character or retiring her?

 

“There’s never been time to ever think that because there was constant evolvement and politics leads her. She had her own homeland but then Nelson Mandela dissolved them so I can’t keep it going just because it was comfortable.

 

“If Cyril Ramaphosa sends her to be the ambassador in Mongolia she’ll have to go and I’m glad she’s part of the ANC now because they really need her.”

 

Uys is also concerned with the worldwide slide towards the fringes of extreme right-wing politics.

 

“It’s this movement towards fascism politely termed populism and the banning of things like the apartheid flag isn’t good either. Don’t enshrine it and give it more power by weaponising it.”

 

His Darling venue, Evita se Perron, has many pictures of the old flag including the flag itself and memorabilia from the apartheid era.

 

“It’s in these times where a sense of humour can go a long way. Somebody should take that flag and make toilet paper out of it because a flag means nothing. Humour is laughing at fear and not running away from it,” said Uys.

 

#HeTwo: Evita Exposed opens at the Theatre on the Bay on Tuesday and runs until September 14 with tickets on Computicket.

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Pieter-Dirk te sien in ‘#HeTwo’

Hy tree in gesprek met Evita Bezuidenhout

– AJ Opperman, Die Burger, 13 August 2019

 

Die satirikus Pieter-Dirk Uys wonder in sy jongste produksie, #HeTwo, of dit seksisties of teistering is om ’n vrouekarakter te vertolk.

 

“Die punt is nou politieke korrektheid. Haatspraak? Of net ’n vrot sin vir humor? Ly ons nou aan ’n ironie-bypass? Vir hoe lank sal Pieter-Dirk Uys toegelaat word om ’n vrou te speel?” vra Uys, wat nou vir die eerste keer op die verhoog met sy gewilde alter ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, in gesprek tree. Evita verskyn op ’n skerm.

 

#HeTwo, wat op 28 Augustus in die Theatre on the Bay-teater in Kampsbaai naby Kaapstad begin, is geïnspireer deur #HeToo.

 

Uys dra Evita se uitrustings en grimering al sedert die laat 1970’s.

 

“#HeTwo verwys na die ‘ek’ wat ook die ‘sy’ speel — my twee karakters. Snaaks genoeg is die ‘regte’ Evita glad nie wat mense sou verwag nie. Ek ook nie!”

 

Uys stel die vraag: Waarom ’n karakter soos Evita?

 

Is daar ’n rede vir die verhouding wat al meer as 40 jaar duur — een wat destyds onwettig was?

 

“Ek bedoel dit was teen die wet dat mans vroueklere dra. Ook op ’n verhoog. Ek kon nooit ’n antwoord kry nie.”

 

Op die skerm is daar ’n blik op haar en oudpres. Nelson Mandela, emeritus-aartsbiskop Desmond Tutu, Pik Botha en mylpale in haar lewe.

 

“Tussen die insetsels is ek op die verhoog met karakters wat hul opinies oor haar en die land se politiek deel. Natuurlik PW Botha (my ‘bread & botha’) en Pik (‘haar geliefde vriend’) terwyl die regte Pik haar op die wang soen! Daar is ook ander wat ’n storie het om te vertel.”

 

Dit is die eerste keer dat Uys en Evita op die verhoog gesels, maar hulle het al op TV in die kykNET-fliek Kyk net vir tannie saam verskyn, waar hy en sy in ’n TV-ateljee met die sanger en aanbieder Coenie de Villiers gesels.

 

“In die laat 1970’s was die politiek van Nasionaliste en die Inligtingskandaal oordonderend, maar moeilik om oor te praat, of te lag.

 

“Apartheid was nooit snaaks nie, maar die mense wat agter die wette en die skerms gesit het met hul skynheilig Christelike auras, was belaglik en gevaarlik.”

 

Uys wou met hulle die spot dryf en hulle uitlok en het hom tot ’n karakter gewend.

 

Evita het in Uys se revue Adapt or Dye in 1981 verskyn en sy sou ná drie weke nie meer bestaan nie. “Sy sou verdwyn in daardie kleedkamer. Daar was geen planne om haar verder te stoot nie.”

 

Sy het wel op die regte oomblik gebeur.

 

“Mense wou nie net vir grappe lag nie. Hulle wou die absurde surrealiteit van afsonderlike ontwikkeling uitjou. Evita kon ook dinge sê wat ek nie kon of wou sê nie. Sy was ’n ikoon van die Nasionale Party en sy het my verpes.”

 

Sy was ook ’n behulpsame wapen. “Sy (ek) kon dus aan die minister van polisie skryf om vir Pieter-Dirk Uys op te sluit! Die grap was, die minister het teruggeskryf: ‘Kan nie vir Pieter-Dirk Uys opsluit nie, want die tronke is vol van al die ander.’ My grootste les: Jou teikens het ook ’n sin vir humor!”

 

■  #HeTwo word tot 14 September in die Theatre on the Bay in Kampsbaai opgevoer. Kaartjies kos R150 tot R220.

 

Ook van 19 tot 24 November in die Elizabeth Sneddon-teater in Durban. Kaartjies kos R160. Bespreek by Computicket.

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Evita’s no woman. She’s a legend.

– Robyn Sassen, My View, 11 August 2019

 

THE QUEEN IS dead. Long live the queen. So begins Pieter-Dirk Uys’s current foray into the shenanigans and hypocrisies that have been the Vaseline of South African political intercourse for the last 40 years, and #HeTwo does the unthinkable. Uys, in his 70s, continues to ratchet up the quality of his work yielding a flawless dollop of South African nostalgia, mixed with uncontrollable laughter at the things that terrify us.

 

How does he do it? It’s got to do with the liberties that one can take in the liminal role of the proverbial fool: the character who stands outside of society and is able to make observations that reach coolly into the bellies and other soft parts of society’s leadership, and squeeze hard. All the better if she’s an (ostensibly safe) Afrikaans ‘tannie’. Indeed, this work is a paean to arguably Uys’s most famous alter-ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, who made some of the harshest criticisms of the apartheid phalanx heard because they came from her neatly lipsticked mouth.

 

“Afrikaans men don’t wear dresses!” one of the dignitaries of South African politics once told Bezuidenhout herself, conspiratorially. And it is these men, some of which have been dredged from hell or heaven, with their blunt faux pas and the power of Photoshop, old videos and real experiences that form the basis of this fresh and profound piece of theatre, which should be a must-see for all South Africans, particularly those caught in the messy and slippery entanglement of political correctness.

 

Uys’s skill as a political jester resounds with the kind of searing rigour that made you shout with laughter in the 1980s, because he was saying the things you thought but were afraid to say yourself, and it is unabated. Like so much of his work, #HeTwo is richly autobiographical and profoundly generous in the slices of political contradiction and horror it dishes up. Uys is a master at the give and take of political nuance, interjecting barbs so bright and sharp that you don’t see them coming, and while you’re laughing with abandon, he brings in something else to make you weep.  Watching Uys at work gives you goosebumps. It’s been more than 40 years of fierce and earth-shattering repartee that, rather than pulling punches, perfumes them.

 

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‘Women Rise’ with Mtambo

– Kedibone Modise, Saturday Star, 10 August 2019

 

MEETING satirist and legendary theatre performer Pieter-dirk Uys at a corner café in Melville was a surreal moment for me. After all, he is the man behind the most famous white woman in South Africa —Evita Bezuidenhout.

 

For over four decades Evita had to tolerate impersonation of her by a local comedian. She swore never to allow him into her life. Now 25 years into democracy, Evita shares the stage with her impersonator.

 

Evita and Uys confront each other face to face for the first time in 40 years under the hashtag #Hetwo.

 

Chatting to the veteran actor and producer, Uys tells us about the concept, which he says was inspired by the popular #Metoo movement.

 

“I’m fascinated by the #Metoo movement — the thought process of #Hetwo was through that process.

 

“Also, looking at the #Metoo movement, I realised there are clever women using it as a means to an end in their careers, then I thought: #Hetwo, boys and men.

 

“As a young man, I went through all these things where I was harassed, where I had to do certain things to be accepted in the theatre space, but you learn to live with that.”

 

The 70-minute production takes the audience down memory lane, as Uys tackles uncomfortable truths Mzansi is perhaps not ready to hear.

 

On why he waited for nearly 40 years to bring Evita and her impersonator together, he said: “I don’t know why, but somehow it felt like the right moment.

 

“I have an enormous amount of footage on video that goes back to 1981 of Evita everywhere, not just on stage. Evita with Tutu, Evita with Madiba, Evita with Clinton, Evita making a speech in Berlin, Evita in London… I looked at all the stuff and thought of the name #Hetwo, that’s Evita and me.”

 

The show is the celebration of humour and appreciation of how far we’ve come as a nation.

 

“It celebrates the fact that we’re still here in spite of the history of our country… that we have freedom of speech, freedom of expression.

 

“We know where the crooks are, but now I want people to know where the good guys are.”

 

Asked what inspired the concept of Evita, in the late 1970s, when homosexuality or cross-dressing was unheard of, Uys said: “There’s a section where I stop the show and say: ‘Let’s talk about homosexuality for a moment’. The minefield of my life — there was no way I could even discuss it with parents, but parents always know. But they didn’t talk about it either.

 

“But then there was the theatre. Theatre gives you a blank cheque to overstep the line.”

 

He added that while all his plays in the late 70s were banned, he became a columnist.

 

“I had a weekly column in the Sunday Express newspaper and I thought: ‘I need to write something about the information scandal when the National Party government was stealing taxpayers’ money. We thought that would never happen again…’

 

“I then created this tannie in Pretoria, who once a month in a column would say ‘Skatie, have you heard what’s happening?’ She would then come with this information.”

 

Eventually, the editor of the paper made this tannie a regular contributor in the publication.

 

“I later put her in the show Adapt or Dye. I played her, when it was also illegal for men to wear women’s clothing.

 

“She was such a strong, opinionated Afrikaner woman, and the first thing she would say was: ‘I hate it when men wear dresses, it’s so unnatural’.”

 

Evita had two sons. “One was gay and the other AWB. If I think, they saved my life. If I’d come out as gay in 1978, forget it, I wouldn’t be living here.”

 

On what fans can expect from the current show, Uys enthused: “I hope the audience will first of all be surprised that they’re laughing at things that they don’t want to think about.

 

“Then that they will also laugh at the madness they see, and want to come back and see more theatre.”

 

#Hetwo is running at the Pieter Toerien Theatre, Montecasino, Fourways, until August 18.

 

The show is then headed to Cape Town’s Theatre on the Bay from August 27 to September 14.

 

Tickets are available at Computicket.

 

Costs and times vary.

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Theatre Review: #HeTwo — Pieter-Dirk Uys: Screen Queen, Or Girls Just Wanna Have Influence

– Bruce Dennill, Artsvark, 3 August 2019

 

#HeTwo / Starring Pieter-Dirk Uys / Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, Fourways, Johannesburg

 

In a career as long as Pieter-Dirk Uys’, it’s necessary to regularly find new gimmicks that help to keep the ongoing narrative and characters fresh. That said, it seems a little extreme to begin a new show by announcing the death of his most famous persona, Evita Bezuidenhout. Turns out it’s a double-bluff, or the second of three, depending on how you experience the rest of the show.

 

Uys uses this beginning to position the show as a tribute to “the most famous white woman in South Africa’, with a few add-ons.

 

Using projected footage of Bezuidenhout’s long career — she first appeared on stage in his hard-hitting satirical show Adapt Or Dye in 1981 — Uys provides a way for him to appear alongside his creation, which is generally a logistical challenge, as audiences can probably appreciate. Ironically, though, seeing how many times and in how may historically important contexts Bezuidenhout appeared gives her more validity and authenticity, making her seem more real and familiar than ever.

 

Uys appears onstage (but off-screen) to narrate and give insight into Evita’s shenanigans as himself and as a range of other famous personalities including Noelle Fine, his kugel mama and Evita precursor, and the late National Party Minister of Home Affairs, Pik Botha. The interaction between everyone underlines the curious warmth with which Uys’ business with politicians has always been conducted — the incisive satirist on the one side and the vaguely (or plainly) narcissistic power-monger on the other.

 

There are clips from the Evita-hosted television series Funigalore in which different title sequences involve Bezuidenhout and Botha playing a game of scrabble while glancing suggestively at each other; and Evita and the late Piet Koornhof (at one time the Minister of Cooperation and Development in the apartheid government, overseeing forced removals and other horrific strategies) making eyes at each other as they dance in a French ballroom setting (one, as an aside, that is weirdly reminiscent of other satirical shows, particularly Blackadder). How did Uys, in whatever guise, convince such individuals (and others), men who represented apartheid and implemented racist and homophobic policies, to mock themselves in such a gleeful manner? Whatever that superpower is, it was understood by Nelson Mandela, who prioritised an interview with Evita, understanding that more of the people he needed to reach with his message tuned into her show than watched the news…

 

#HeTwo highlights what an extraordinary life Pieter-Dirk Uys has lived. Without arrogance, it states again the importance of his abiding messages — about free speech being essential, about the destructive power of unwarranted prejudice and ways to heal it, and about how necessary it is to be courageous to take a stand. Perhaps more so than some of his more comic material, this piece offers direct addresses to those who need to take responsibility for the effects of their actions — often via decades-old footage, thus proving the ongoing legitimacy of Uys’ perspectives.

 

In that sense, the show is a challenge. You’ll have been entertained, with savvy satire, up-to-date observational humour, quick costume changes and spot-on impressions, but if you laugh and then simply leave, you’ve missed the point, #HeTwo clearly displays how far South Africa has moved forward during Uys’ career, but it also illustrates how much work there still remains to do. Get to it. Frocks and wigs optional.

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Evita Bezuidenhout tribute is a class act

– Peter Feldman, Artslink, 2 August 2019

 

You can't keep a good man down and this is evident with the inimitable Pieter-Dirk Uys who continues to pop up with a new show and fresh ideas.

 

His latest one-man stage offering, #HeTwo, features Uys and his world famous alter-ego Evita Bezudenhout sharing the stage.

 

It's a class act; the clever word play, his timeless impersonations of political figures and the brilliant strategy of cobbling the whole shoot together into a sparkling show with plenty of SABC TV footage on the big screen of Evita's shenanigans.

 

The evergreen Uys always manages to inject something fresh and relevant into his work and while his present programme harps back to the past for its impact it’s immensely entertaining. Evita's been around for over 40 years –- she's 10 years older than Uys — and still cracks the whip. Her whole history is unravelled and we realise the key roles she played in the march to Democracy.

 

In masterly style, Uys once again brings to vivid life the old Krokodil, President PW Botha, with his unmistakable mannerisms, and Pik Botha. He also focuses on his warm relationship with Madiba (even impersonating the former President's famous voice), Dr Piet Koornhof and other figures from the old Nationalist Party and the now current ANC.

 

Uys delves into a brief history of how Bezuidenhout was given life, form and structure and some of the highlights during her epic career.

 

As we enter the theatre a screen shows a picture of Evita Bezuidenhout with the dates 1935-2019 which gives the impression she is no longer with us.

 

As the programme notes state: "Now in 2019, for the first time, she and her ageing impersonator will confront each other face to face."

 

A great show and a wonderful tribute to one gutsy Lady created by one of South Africa's true sons of the soil.

 

#HeTwo is on at Pieter Toerien''s Montecasino Theatre at Fourways until 18 August.

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Beste vyande: Evita en Pieter-Dirk

– Mariana Malan, Skrop, August 2019

 

Vlymskerp tonge is Pieter-Dirk Uys en Evita Bezuidenhout se voorkeurwapens. Die twee leef al dekades lank onafskeidbaar van mekaar, en tog het ʼn mens hulle nog nooit saam gesien nie. Nou is hulle so dapper om saam op die verhoog te verskyn in Uys se solo-stuk #HeTwo.

 

“Ek salueer Evita vir die 40 jaar wat ons nou al saamloop,” sê Uys.

 

Ná al die jare is Evita nog net so bekkig en strydlustig soos altyd, en Uys sal sy passies moet ken om by te hou in hierdie tango totdat een se tong uithang of die ander een die knie buig.

 

“Net omdat Evita nie bestaan nie beteken dit nie sy is is nie werklik nie,” meen hy.

 

Sy is immers die bekendste wit vrou in Suid-Afrika. Al is sy nie meer die vurige Nasionalis van voorheen nie, kook sy nou onder die ANC-vaandel vurige brousels vir rekonsiliasie.

 

Natuurlik word sy ouer. Waar sy eers hooghakkig rondgetrippel het, is haar voete nou nader aan die aarde. Sy dra nou eerder Lady Di of die Koninginmoeder se praktiese hakke.

 

“Skoene is belangrik. As jou skoene druk raak jy suur. Het jy geweet al die Broederbonders het hul skoene te klein gedra?”

 

Volgens Uys is daar vir die vertoning deur ure se film- en ander materiaal gewerk om nuwe humor na die planke te bring.

 

“Daar’s nie grappe nie, maar hope humor. En dis nie ʼn movie nie. Dis interaksie en dit het vir my baie herinneringe opgeroep. Natuurlik is my herinneringe baie persoonlik en dit kan nie met ʼn gehoor gedeel word nie. Ons neem gehore op ʼn reis. Vir baie mense bestaan ons land se geskiedenis nie voor 1990 nie. Bring die kinders saam en op pad huis toe sal hulle die regte vrae vra.”

 

Evita Bezuidenhout het in die laat sewentigerjare vir die eerste keer op die toneel verskyn. Waar dit toe onwettig was om sekere dinge te dink, sê of doen en dat ʼn man vroueklere aantrek, het Evita die wag voor haar mond die trekpas gegee en gedoen en gesê wat sy wou.

 

Sommer gou het sy selfs politici in haar sak gehad en bekendes wou in haar geselskap gesien wees. Net vir Pieter-Dirk Uys het sy geen tyd gehad nie. Sy wou hom dagvaar vir laster.

 

Hy dink byvoorbeeld haar swart en silwer jas wat Chris Levine gemaak het, was eintlik vir onse Mimi bedoel. Toe sy nie wou betaal nie, het Evita dit skaamteloos oorgeneem.

 

Uys was al byna 8 000 keer alleen op die verhoog. Gelukkig kry hy hierdie keer ʼn waardige opponent om die kollig te deel.

 

   #HeTwo is tot 18 Augustus in Pieter Toerien se Montecasino Theatre in Johannesburg. In Kaapstad is dit van 27 Augustus  tot 14 September in die Theatre on the Bay te sien. Bespreek by Computicket.

   Evita besoek die 14de Voorkamerfees van 6 tot 8 September in Darling by Evita se Perron. Bespreek by voorkamerfest-darling.co.za   

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Pietie and his Tannie Evita make #hetwo

It’s the great standoff between Pieter-Dirk Uys and his celebrity creation Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout. He tells DIANE DE BEER about the battle of sharp tongues and minds in #hetwo

– Diane De Beer, debeernecessities, 31 July 2019

 

It’s difficult to imagine how actor/writer/director (and the list goes on) Pieter Dirk Uys (PDU) keeps producing fresh material — but a few minutes in his company, listening to those ideas almost tumble over one another, the answer is simple.

 

It’s his vocation, his passion, and PDU (with all his personae) is unique. I am reminded of a day decades ago when I slipped into a lecture hall at the then Pretoria Technikon (now TUT) and listened to him chatting to drama students.

 

Quick and nimble, thinking on his feet, and everyone eating out of his hand, I was quickly won over, but was certain that even though seemingly impromptu, this speech was rehearsed. It was only many years later that I understood how foolish I was. It’s simply the way he works and thinks and has fashioned a career not only brilliantly but with versatility and such longevity.

 

It’s always new as out pops yet another gag — whether it’s that of Piet Koornhof or who knows, decades later turned into Trump. He brilliantly used one of the Koornhof-driven apartheid laws and moved to British immigration officers to show the world for what it really is — up close.

 

Tannie Evita is one who just won’t let go. Ever since she slipped onto stage in 1981 (just short of four decades ago), she’s been misbehaving but as her creator explains: Because she doesn’t exist, she can’t be real and then, she proves them wrong.

 

PDU and his master creation have never come face to face on stage until now. As his publicity announces à la the LA Times: Uys dons false eyelashes and presidents listen. And even if that’s perhaps no longer a compliment, Tannie Evita’s long list of celebrity fans have been committed from the start and still remain true.

 

When he started impersonating her in 1978, it was illegal to have an opinion about anything political, so he reasoned, maybe an Afrikaans woman with an NP husband could spill the beans. “The fact that she was portrayed by a man dressed as a woman when cross-dressing was also illegal, could force the edge of the envelope. Or maybe that she was there for only one reason: to eventually make Nelson Mandela laugh. And she did.”

 

And many others.

 

PDU knows a good thing when he has one. The myth keeps running: “For nearly 40 years she has had to tolerate the impersonation of her by a local comedian,” reads the publicity blurb. “She tried to sue him for libel; she swore never to allow him into her life and yet, now in the 25th year of her democracy, she will be on the stage with Pieter-Dirk Uys at the same time.”

 

There’s a hitch though says PDU with a dramatic pause: “It starts with her death…” and sadly, you will have to go and see the rest for yourself because that will be the fun of #hetwo —  another of PDU’s gifts, titles, always read them carefully, as therein also lies a tale.

 

Know that it will be fresh and new but never clean — tralala. He recently picked up some flack because of Ouma Ossewania’s language. PDU is puzzled but not troubled. “The title is Ouma Ossewania Praat Vuil.” They have warning notices, age restrictions AND that title. Feels like old times as the wheels keep turning — round and round.

 

He has been put through the censorship wringer for most of his career. But that keeps challenging him. There are so many taboos, some where he will bend the knee but others he will keep challenging. In the apartheid years, the security police and the censorship board presented him with sold-out shows, but he’s not going to do things for expediency alone. Whatever happens, he deals with it. If people have a point, he will listen, if not, he will tell them that too.

 

That both PDU and Tannie Evita will have you giggling in #hetwo while banishing the truoubles of the outside world is a no-brainer. While he is aware of everything in the entertainment basket, he’s never had a problem packing them in.

 

Apart from this latest creation, he currently has 10 shows in his repertoire. At the drop of a hat, he can pack up his wardrobe and go.

 

He has teetered around on those high heels, donned too many wigs and battled the elements whatever they might be on his own for decades. When people ask him about his swansong, he’s retorts  that every show might be one, he doesn’t know. But those who have watched him through the years will know that he has always claimed that he won’t stop.

 

He might do things differently, and with this coming face to face of PDU and Tannie Evita, he pulls yet another trick out of his shimmering stage hat. There isn’t an end to his inventiveness. He has done it his whole life, that’s how he rolls — to his audience’s benefit  and delight.

 

An artist isn’t always appreciated in his own land and PDU has been around so long, many tend to take him for granted. Don’t! Live theatre has become a luxury and many artists have had to turn to television or film just to pay the rent.

 

There are a few like PDU who knew from the start they would have to do it all. It is the only way he can achieve everything he wants to. “I’m writing a new solo play,” he says. “It has to be for one man only because I can’t afford to pay actors.” That’s the reality and has been for quite a while.

 

Bambi, Evita’s sister is on her way to Berlin for a few shows. There’s life in quite a few of his dames yet — and that’s how you do it.

 

And Tannie Evita shares her weekly comments on YouTube and Daily Maverick about the state of her nation, where her Evita’s Free Speech has gathered supporters from all the corners of the globe. Her 140 000 Twitter followers are also tuned in around the clock.

 

“My instinct drove me. I’m a terminal optimist which we have to be as artists because what we do is total madness,” he said last year when speaking to Marthinus Basson at a text market in Cape Town. This is what he wanted to do and where he wanted to be — on stage among people with passion and humour.

 

He also had a message for artists: “You have to be a unique talent. Don’t be a copy, we have enough of those. Be original. Don’t specialise, do everything. You must learn the alphabet of the theatre — everything. Read, watch documentaries by people who do what you want to achieve. Don’t be afraid to adore talent.”

 

And we do.

 

#HeTwo will perform in Johannesburg at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from July 31 to August 18. The run in Cape Town is at Theatre on the Bay from 27 August 27 to September 14. Book at Computicket or theatres.

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Theatre Interview: Pieter-Dirk Uys – #HeTwo: He’s With Her, Or No Fixed Agender

– Bruce Dennill, 27 July 2019

 

Pieter-Dirk Uys’ new show #HeTwo, in which he appears on stage with the elegant Evita Bezuidenhout, runs at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from 31 July to 18 August and at the Theatre On The Bay in Cape Town from 28 August to 14 September.

 

You’re a creator and a persona in this show. Creators need to take responsibility for what they do and say, while personae don’t. How do you manipulate that set-up in the show?

 

We’re both there, but there can only be one winner! I have a great interest in the #MeToo movement and in understanding what it truly means — not just as a grandstanding thing. And it’s important to consider #HeToo, as this stuff happens to guys as well. And I’m also the stage manager and the costume designer in this one.

 

As to why Evita? Why is she still around after 40 years? She was created to allow me to say things I couldn’t say for a column in the Sunday Express, and later for the show Adapt Or Dye. That was supposed to be it for her, but she stuck around.

 

I have a huge amount of film footage of Evita. The danger was that I would make this show into a film rather than a theatre piece. There is footage of her with everyone from Nelson Mandela to Bill Clinton. And in the show, Evita speaks to me via a screen.

 

I’ve structured #HeTwo so that the start of the show is quite a shock, but from there, different characters come in. It’s still, interestingly, about exploring the need for disguises in order to make people comfortable enough to hear difficult things. And in some ways, I feel like I’m back to where I was in the old days in terms of trying to maintain freedom of speech in what has become such a politically correct environment.

 

Satire is dead. In the age of Donald Trump, nobody can do it better than he can.

 

It will be interesting to see how a traumatised — we all are, nowadays — audience responds. I never know if they’re responding to a challenging theme or if they just like Evita. I always need to be careful in the minefield that is confronting an audience who take racism for granted.

 

When it’s only you on stage, improvisation is often a large part of your performance. With two of you there, is this piece fully scripted, or is there still room for updates according to current affairs or audience response?

 

Everything’s scripted, but in each scene, there is a window of exit for improvisation. The material is adapted on a daily basis. It has to be.

 

And what if the audience response is in favour of Evita; if they like her more than they like you? Is that awkward?

 

I plan for that. I expect it. Evita is the pudding; I’m the enema. You can over-indulge on her, then I’ll clean you out.

 

I now have 10 shows in my repertoire, and I try to do two a month at Evita Se Perron in Darling to keep them all updated. That helps me to offend a good range of people; to keep them thinking.

 

I was in London recently, and everything was about Brexit. I had to re-write material every day.

 

Regarding the #MeToo issue, your relationship with Evita suggests great respect — acceptance of a woman in a leadership role and much more besides.

 

I often joke that I’m glad I never have to meet Evita face to face. In this show, the ventriloquist is getting kicked by the dummy. Different audiences out there treat my work differently — some see what I’m trying to get at; others just think some of the jokes are funny.

 

We need to have the brains to work out issues like #MeToo, otherwise they become bigger problems. We need to inspire the good people of the world to be better. Optimism is terminal in theatre.

 

#HeTwo is a new angle in what is a long line of angles on what you do. You’ve had boxes full of props and on-stage costume changes, and you’ve improvised to headlines in newspapers…

 

This show brings in our digital reality, with Evita on the screen. Just because she doesn’t exist doesn’t mean she isn’t real.

 

And we’re seeing how well that model works with our Evita’s Free Speech series on YouTube. That started as a message to Trevor Noah, to tell him how proud Evita was of him. Now we’re on episode 204!

 

Outlets like that are important, otherwise these things would just be ideas in a notebook on a shelf. Evita’s just a grandmother with loads of baggage, which is why, I think, thousands of people around the world identify with her — and her ‘designer democracy’.

 

It could be said that you and Evita are your two strongest brands, and so are the combination most likely to get a message across?

 

Yes, that’s definitely true. And I add some little ‘brandettes’, as well as bits of political input — reminders to politicians to not be careless when deciding our children’s future.

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Will the real Evita Bezuidenhout please stand up?

Artsvark, 24 July 2019

 

The last thing you expect is to find yourself at the funeral of the most famous white woman in South Africa. Is it possible that this national icon is dead? How come and why? And then again, how? If Evita Bezuidenhout doesn’t exist, how can she be deceased? And why do so many people keep thinking she’s real?

 

That was the question that Pieter-Dirk Uys has decided to answer in this latest entertainment where he and she appear together on the same stage. During her remarkable 40 years of existence in the whirlpool of South African politics, first as the wife of a National Party Minister in the Verwoerd Cabinet, and then as the South African Ambassador in the Independent black homeland republic of Bapetikosweti, Evita Bezuidenhout has met remarkable superstars on the world stage.

 

Nelson Mandela invited her to appear at his many rallies and loved her koeksisters. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu called her Skattie and taught her to toyi-toyi. Apartheid Foreign Minister Pik Botha started believing the rumour that he was having an affair with her and Dr Piet Koornhof donned a costume to dance the waltz with her. She met and interviewed Joe Slovo, Frene Ginwala, Tokyo Sexwale, Helen Suzman, Patricia de Lille, Jay Naidoo, Mac Maharaj and of course President Mandela, not forgetting her fishing adventure with Cyril Ramaphosa.

 

All these realities will be exposed in the show #HeTwo, a title inspired by the #MeToo revolution, but in this case, referring to the two people Pieter-Dirk Uys has been responsible for during his long career as an entertainer: himself and herself. He is also joined on stage by other characters whose paths Mrs Bezuidenhout has crossed; PW Botha and Pik Botha being the two most obvious. But Sir David Attenborough and Mrs Petersen also appear to pay tribute to Tannie’s charm and recipes, while Mrs Petersen remembers being a twenty-year-old char working for the Bezuidenhout family on the eve of Hendrik Verwoerd’s assassination in 1966 and so revealing some shocking details ignored by historians.

 

Pop into the Evita se Perron channel on YouTube where all 204 episodes of ‘Evita’s Free Speech’ can be viewed with a new episode added every Sunday.

 

#HeTwo will perform in Johannesburg at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from 31 July to 18 August tickets are priced at  R150, R200, R240 and senior and student prices are R150. Book at Computicket or at the Theatre.

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Pieter-Dirk Uys in ‘#HeTwo’

Hy tree in gesprek met Evita Bezuidenhout

– AJ Opperman, Beeld, 16 July 2019

 

Die satirikus Pieter-Dirk Uys wonder in sy jongste produksie, #HeTwo, of dit seksisties of teistering is om ’n vrouekarakter te vertolk.

 

“Die punt is nou politieke korrektheid. Haatspraak? Of net ’n vrot sin vir humor? Ly ons nou aan ’n ironie-bypass? Vir hoe lank sal Pieter-Dirk Uys toegelaat word om ’n vrou te speel?” vra Uys, wat nou vir die eerste keer op die verhoog met sy gewilde alter ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, in gesprek tree. Evita verskyn op ’n skerm.

 

#HeTwo, wat op 31 Julie in die Pieter Toerien-teater by Montecasino in Johannesburg begin, is geïnspireer deur #HeToo.

 

Uys dra Evita se uitrustings en grimering al sedert die laat 1970’s.

 

“#HeTwo verwys na die ‘ek’ wat ook die ‘sy’ speel — my twee karakters. Snaaks genoeg is die ‘regte’ Evita glad nie wat mense sou verwag nie. Ek ook nie!”

 

Uys stel die vraag: Waarom ’n karakter soos Evita?

 

Is daar ’n rede vir die verhouding wat al meer as 40 jaar duur — een wat destyds onwettig was?

 

“Ek bedoel dit was teen die wet dat mans vroueklere dra. Ook op ’n verhoog. Ek kon nooit ’n antwoord kry nie.”

 

Op die skerm is daar ’n blik op haar en oudpres. Nelson Mandela, emeritus-aartsbiskop Desmond Tutu, Pik Botha en mylpale in haar lewe.

 

“Tussen die insetsels is ek op die verhoog met karakters wat hul opinies oor haar en die land se politiek deel. Natuurlik PW Botha (my ‘bread & botha’) en Pik (‘haar geliefde vriend’) terwyl die regte Pik haar op die wang soen! Daar is ook ander wat ’n storie het om te vertel.”

 

Dit is die eerste keer dat Uys en Evita op die verhoog gesels, maar hulle het al op TV in die kykNET-fliek Kyk net vir tannie saam verskyn, waar hy en sy in ’n TV-ateljee met die sanger en aanbieder Coenie de Villiers gesels.

 

“In die laat 1970’s was die politiek van Nasionaliste en die Inligtingskandaal oordonderend, maar moeilik om oor te praat, of te lag.

 

“Apartheid was nooit snaaks nie, maar die mense wat agter die wette en die skerms gesit het met hul skynheilig Christelike auras, was belaglik en gevaarlik.”

 

Uys wou met hulle die spot dryf en hulle uitlok en het hom tot ’n karakter gewend.

 

Evita het in Uys se revue Adapt or Dye in 1981 verskyn en sy sou ná drie weke nie meer bestaan nie. “Sy sou verdwyn in daardie kleedkamer. Daar was geen planne om haar verder te stoot nie.”

 

Sy het wel op die regte oomblik gebeur.

 

“Mense wou nie net vir grappe lag nie. Hulle wou die absurde surrealiteit van afsonderlike ontwikkeling uitjou. Evita kon ook dinge sê wat ek nie kon of wou sê nie. Sy was ’n ikoon van die Nasionale Party en sy het my verpes.”

 

Sy was ook ’n behulpsame wapen. “Sy (ek) kon dus aan die minister van polisie skryf om vir Pieter-Dirk Uys op te sluit! Die grap was, die minister het teruggeskryf: ‘Kan nie vir Pieter-Dirk Uys opsluit nie, want die tronke is vol van al die ander.’ My grootste les: Jou teikens het ook ’n sin vir humor!”

 

■ #HeTwo word van 31 Julie tot 18 Augustus in die Pieter Toerien-teater in Johannesburg aangebied. Kaartjies kos R100 tot R240. Bespreek by Computicket.

 

■ Daarna volg nog speelvakke. Dit is van 28 Augustus tot 14 September in die Theatre on the Bay in Kampsbaai op die planke. Kaartjies kos R150 tot R220.

 

Ook van 19 tot 24 November in die Elizabeth Sneddon-teater in Durban. Kaartjies kos R160. Bespreek by Computicket.

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#HETWO Comes to Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Theatre

Broadway World, 9July.2019   

 

In 1981 a woman appeared out of the dressing room of the Market Theatre, stepped onto the stage and smiled. Before she even gave her name she was a legend. Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout was presented to the audience, the nation and the world. She is still going stronger than ever. No longer a recognised Nationalist as she was during those years of apartheid rule, she is now a member of the African National Congress, secure in her Luthuli House kitchen where she cooks for reconciliation. For nearly forty years she has had to tolerate the impersonation of her by a local comedian. She tried to sue him for libel; she swore never to allow him into her life and yet, now in the 25th year of her democracy, she will be on the stage with Pieter-Dirk Uys at the same time.

 

The question to PDU was always: why this female character of Evita? There are many answers. When he started impersonating her in 1978, it was illegal to have an opinion about anything political, so maybe an Afrikaans woman with an NP husband could spill the beans. The fact that she was portrayed by a man dressed as a woman when crossdressing was also illegal, could force the edge of the envelope. Or maybe that she was there for only one reason: to eventually make Nelson Mandela laugh. And she did. They met and he laughed. She also embraced Archbishop Desmond Tutu who also laughed. She posed with countless legends and South Africans, black and white, laughed - with relief.

 

Evita Bezuidenhout will always be ten years older than Pieter-Dirk Uys. He seems to be catching up. His Darling venue, Evita se Perron, has been going for 22 years, established as a reckonized international tourist destination and local satirical Stonehenge. Who would have thought that Tannie Evita would become a farce to be reckoned with, to be hailed and celebrated as the most famous white woman in South Africa? And now as a member of the ANC, sharing her weekly comments on YouTube and Daily Maverick about the state of her nation, where her Evita's Free Speech has gathered supporters from all the corners of the globe? Her 140,000 Twitter followers are not just, as she thinks, in the same prison outside Rustenburg.

 

Now in 2019, for the first time, she and her ageing impersonator will confront each other face to face.

 

There can only be one winner.

 

#HeTwo will perform in Johannesburg at Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Theatre from 31 July to 18 August (Book at Computicket) and in Cape Town at Theatre on the Bay from 27 August to 14 September (Book at Computicket or theatre)

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Pieter-Dirk Uys & Evita Bezuidenhout in #He Two

Pieter-Dirk Uys and his iconic alter ego Evita Bezuidenhout finally join forces in his new comedy spectacular, #He Two. Catch them go head to head at the Pieter Toerein Main Theatre in Montecasino this August.

– Tarryn Jameson, Joburg.co.za, 22 May 2019

 

What Is It?

 

Tannie Evita has been part of South African’s lives since 1980 — as a famous wife, grandmother, political ambassador and cadre to the masses. All the while, playwright and comedian Pieter-Dirk Uys has lurked in the background — that is until now, of course. The formidable Tannie and her creator will finally take to the stage together. Join them at the Pieter Toerien Main Theatre this August for a comedy spectacular unlike anything you will have seen before. The title says it all — #He Two. Don’t miss it!

 

When Is It?

 

Wednesday, 31 July 2019 – Sunday, 18 August 2019

Show times:

Wednesdays – Fridays at 20:00

Saturdays at 16:00 and 20:00

Sundays at 15:00

 

**Please note that the Saturday, 3 August 2019 shows will be at 15:00 and 20:00.

 

Visit Computicket for further show dates and times.

 

Where Is It?

 

Pieter Toerien Main Theatre, Montecasino, 1 Montecasino Bouelvard, Fourways, Johannesburg.

 

How Much Is It?

 

Tickets cost R100 – R240 per person. Book yours here.

 

For more information

 

For more information, visit Pieter Toerien Productions website.

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#HeTwo Is Coming

 

Uys dons false eyelashes and presidents listen — Los Aangeles Times

 

In 1981 a woman appeared out of the dressing room of the Market Theatre, stepped onto the stage and smiled. Before she even gave her name she was a legend. Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout was presented to the audience, the nation and the world. She is still going stronger than ever. No longer a recognised Nationalist, as she was during those years of apartheid rule, she is now a member of the African National Congress, secure in her Luthuli House kitchen where she cooks for reconciliation. For nearly forty years she has had to tolerate the impersonation of her by a local comedian. She tried to sue him for libel; she swore never to allow him into her life and yet, now in the 25th year of her democracy, she will be on the stage with Pieter-Dirk Uys at the same time.

 

The question to PDU was always: Why this female character of Evita? There are many answers. When he started impersonating her in 1978, it was illegal to have an opinion about anything political, so maybe an Afrikaans woman with an NP husband could spill the beans. The fact that she was portrayed by a man dressed as a woman, when crossdressing was also illegal, could force the edge of the envelope. Or maybe that she was there for only one reason: to eventually make Nelson Mandela laugh. And she did. They met and he laughed. She also embraced Archbishop Desmond Tutu who also laughed. She posed with countless legends and South Africans, black and white, laughed — with relief.

       

Evita Bezuidenhout will always be ten years older than Pieter-Dirk Uys. He seems to be catching up. His Darling venue, Evita se Perron, has been going for twenty-two years, established as a recognised international tourist destination and local satirical Stonehenge. Who would have thought that Tannie Evita would become a farce to be reckoned with, to be hailed and celebrated as the most famous white woman in South Africa? And now as a member of the ANC, sharing her weekly comments on YouTube and Daily Maverick about the state of her nation, where her Evita's Free Speech has gathered supporters from all the corners of the globe? Her 140,000 Twitter followers are not just, as she thinks, in the same prison outside Rustenburg.

 

Now in 2019, for the first time, she and her ageing impersonator will confront each other face to face.

 

There can only be one winner.

 

#HeTwo will be performed in Johannesburg at Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Theatre from 31 July to 18 August (Book at Computicket) and in Cape Town at Theatre on the Bay from 27 August to 14 September (Book at Computicket or theatre)

 

@TannieEvita

www.evita.co.za

www.pdu.co.za

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