15 + 7 questions for Pieter-Dirk Uys


15 + 7 questions for Pieter-Dirk Uys

The beloved satirist and activist is back on stage at Montecasino in a week's time with his new show, Sell-by Date. Two new books are also available on his web page, he told LAUREEN ROSSOUW.


1. What do you read first thing every morning?

Before Covid I read three to five newspapers daily. Now, after Covid, I quickly read Die Burger — and that's it.

2. What do you listen to in the car?

Classical music on CDs; Fine Music Radio on 101.4 up to the Mamre Hills, because after that we don't pick up FMR any more.

3. Do satirists have a sell-by date?

A satirist is only as good as his/her/their latest offering.

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4. In two sentences, what do you think of Evita?

I can say it in one sentence: very thankful I never have to meet her face to face.

5. Why did you change her appearance?

Covid froze my work. No more theatre; no Tannie Evita. I was able to grow a beard for the first time in 26 years. Maar 'n boer maak 'n plan. Evita was also in lockdown for weeks/months. She couldn't get to the hairdresser. Then she realised: “Every brown haircut has a silver lining!" She snipped and cut, and lo and behold: today she looks like Helen Mirren. She also came up with a new voice.


6. Your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate nuts and raisins.

7. What do you regret?

Nothing. Just the things I was too afraid to do.

8. What do you never want to have again?

The years of separate developments and the early loss of my golden locks.

9. If you had to date yourself, why would you dump yourself?

Well, Pieter has no backbone and Dirk is a hard-ass — so the second date would not have taken place.

10. Do you ad-lib if your audience reacts differently than you expected? Or if you forget your words?

Ad-lib is part of my theatre alphabet. I work windows into the structure, where I can leave the text and joke with the audience — and know where I left the mothership. Otherwise it is a mess of repetitions and uncertainties. Forgetting words is not the problem; it's the meaning behind the word that makes words sound comfortable.

11. Who inspires you?

People with a sense of humour, a sense of anger and a broad sense for the absurd.

12. Your favourite world city? And why?

Right now, Berlin. It's my mother's hometown and I respect a city that remembers its horrific past.

13. If you could invite three people, living or deceased, to lunch, who would you choose?

Maria van Riebeeck, Betsie Verwoerd and Winnie Mandela … just imagine!

14. Your most disastrous show?

If it happened, I have totally forgotten about it. It must have been really disastrous!

15. If you could choose any artist to paint your portrait, who would you choose?

Nina van der Westhuizen here in Darling. At Evita's Perron there are 26 paintings she painted in the style of the great masters: Picasso, Leonardo, Trechy, Warhol +++ . Brilliantly adapted to everyone's technique. She will paint me without an Evita mug!

Pieter-Dirk Uys
Pieter-Dirk Uys

16. Your favourite South African author?

Zapiro — because he doesn't need words!

17. What can't you live without?

Privacy. Discipline. My Woolworths card.

18. Are there actors and directors you would still like to work with?

Most of them are in heaven; and the younger ones are still too unknown. But I'm watching them and looking forward to a collaboration.

19. Is there a character you created that you would do differently now?

Evita develops by herself; her sister Bambi Kellermann now takes more chances; Nowell Fine is still a “kugel", but quieter than she was in the 1980s. The most difficult character I struggle with is Pieter-Dirk Uys.

20. Do you have pets? If so, what are their names?

At home at the moment: Fanny the big cat; Mrs Vegan, the small house cat; Nguni and Mollie, the two little house dogs. And then at Evita se Perron: Meeps from the SPCA and Boesman who walked in with its tail upright and with a shy girlfriend. Her name is Lena. So no one can say: “It's a disgrace, you can't call a black cat Boesman!" Really? I can — because Boesman and Lena is a play by Athol Fugard.

21. If you could give Cyril Ramaphosa a book, what would it be and why?

Putin's People — get to know your friends!

22. Are you going to carry on and on like Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren?

Absolutely! Every show is my first and my last!

♦ VWB ♦

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