REVIEW OF AUDITIONING ANGELS at the NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL (Grahamstown) — JUNE 2003
– Caroline Smart, artsmart.co.za, 30 June 2003
Another beautiful day in Grahamstown and one in which I didn’t do much else other
than see Pieter Dirk Uys’s Auditioning Angels before taking some time off and heading
down to Port Elizabeth to see my niece and her family.
Auditioning Angels is everything that Pieter-Dirk Uys has been saying for ages skilfully
turned into a brilliantly-written and often-hilarious dramatic vehicle. His one-man
shows Foreign Aids and For Facts Sake have provided a lot of the source material
for this work which is produced by Pieter Toerien and currently playing the National
Arts Festival before it goes on to have a season at the new Toerien theatre at Montecasino.
One of the most powerful images to turn around the general public’s approach worldwide
to people living with HIV/AIDS was the photograph of Princess Diana kissing an AIDS
In Auditioning Angels, there is the imagery of healthy people (the cast) holding
babies dying of AIDS and actually getting involved in the process of doing something
positive. A young girl is raped by someone with AIDS — or is it just a smokescreen
for a sexual relationship with someone her own age? In hospitals battling to cope,
if an AIDS baby is under 1kg, should you switch off the respirator because it’s not
going to make it anyway?
It’s happening, people! Live with it. Deal with it. Do what you can when and how
you can — but don’t ignore it. AIDS is not going to go away. This is Pieter-Dirk
Directed by Blaise Koch, Auditioning Angels is not a guilt-ridden, miserable table
of woe but a vigorous and challenging production that stands on its own as an entertaining
piece of theatre. The five member cast — Clive Scott, Paul du Toit, Thoko Ntshinga,
Jo da Silva and Nandi Nyembe — keep the text fast and pacey, always allowing Uys’s
humour to come through.