Interview: Pieter-Dirk Uys, Unmasking Evita, Women’s Day 2020- live stream show, Sunday August 9 at 6pm.
“These public/political holidays are the best time to remind us all that we can still laugh at fear. And as for the new normal? We will have to stay in freeze-frame till there is a trusted vaccine.” Pieter-Dirk Uys talking about Unmasking Evita – his 2020 Women’s Day show, streaming live, from Penny Lane Studios, in Cape Town.
Unmasking Evita – ticket and booking info
✔Time: August 9, 2020 at 6pm SAST/CAT. Show will be about an hour.
✔Helpline: Penny Lane Studios WhatsApp 0720707592
✔ Live stream/recording: Unmasking Evita, will go out live from Penny Lane Studios in Cape Town from 6pm. After the show has finished, the link will be available for viewing as video-on-demand, for ticket holders, for a week – ie until Sunday August 16, 2020. Tickets may be purchased up until August 16.
Throughout his career, Pieter-Dirk Uys has been unmasking figures of power and influence. He has brought us impressions of real people – politicians and other figures of interest who inhabit this mad world. In tandem, Uys has created a menagerie of characters, led by the alpha mama, Evita Bezuidenhout. She was adored by Madiba and is highly regarded as the most famous Woman in South Africa. She does not understand irony. She is the straight faced clown –a container and projection of what is going on around her. A leitmotif throughout Uys’ career is that we need to be able to laugh at our fears– to confront our fears – through mirth. By unmasking fears, we can engage. In this pandemic, after five months of lockdown, everything has become muffled as we don our masks. We need Uys – and Evita – to help us transcend through our fears and laugh through our anxieties.
Pieter-Dirk Uys talks about Unmasking Evita
TheCapeRobyn: Your first lockdown show. on July 16, the eve of Mandela Day, Pieter-Dirk Uys says hello darling!, was an ode to Darling. I take it that Evita will be making her women’s day appearance in this show?
PDU: Yes. The show is based on last year’s #HeTwo with focus on where we are now in this pandemic. Also a reminder of where we come from – and hopefully encouragement to believe that where we are going can only be better.
TheCapeRobyn: Some performers are starting to perform hybrid shows – a handful of people watching – small audience – and live streaming of the show. There won’t be an audience, in the studio for Unmasking Evita?
PDU: I have a live audience in my head. It’s like rehearsing a piano concerto – I play my piano and I know when to wait for the orchestra to finish their cadenza. Also having rehearsed with my cat, I am used to only two eyes watching, like the two cameras recording. The streaming-performance is orchestrated. No problem. Just the fact that the audience watching me is world-wide and could be more than Trump gets for his rallies is quite weird. Just happy not to have to wear a mask because me and the people are more than two metres apart!
TheCapeRobyn: The digital stage is likely to be the predominant medium for a while. The irony is of course that Evita fans can tune in from all over the world – especially from Perth or lockdown Melbourne. Any chance of the lovely vintage, Nowell Fine popping up in the Women’s Day show?
PDU: Nowell Fine is definitely popping up in the Women’s Day show! With her ‘pastural plural’ Nimrod.
TheCapeRobyn: We need Evita’s take on it all for Women’s Day – after all she is the most famous white woman in South Africa. Can Evita please become a frontline activist?
PDU: No, the success of Evita Bezuidenhout since 1981 is that she has no sense of humour, no understanding of irony. Or activism. She has heard of it ,but like with her computer, careful not to press the wrong buttons. A perfect South African in many ways. She also represents a majority of people – especially women – who know that the bad things must be stopped and that the good things must be encouraged. She’s just sometimes gets a bit mixed up about which is which. She is a designer democrat, a loving gogo [grandmother] and proud citizen. Through her I hope to suggest that we make community the jewel in the crown of our democracy. Let service delivery start at ground zero: Then one day maybe the minister will get a new car. Hopefully Evita as an ANC member can pick up the torn pieces of our constitution – so carelessly ripped up by some third-rate politicians with their fourth-rate ideas during the state of disaster – and glue the pages together for a better future.
TheCapeRobyn: There was your Mandela Day show, now Women’s Day and next?
PDU: There will be another show on Heritage Day, September 24. These public/political holidays are the best time to remind us all that we can still laugh at fear. And as for the new normal? We will have to stay in freeze-frame till there is a trusted vaccine. So I don’t see a theatre audience risking a visit until then. It could be mid-2021. So we must find every and any way to remind the world that live theatre is just in intensive care. We have to be the ventilators to keep the oxygen of life flowing. What did Vera Lynn sing? ‘We’ll meet again, we know when, just not when!’?
✳ Image credit. Supplied. Photo of Evita by Stefan Hurter.