The Echo of a Noise

Echo_poster_website25 July - 6 Aug 2017
A One-man Memoir

Master satirist, the indefatigable Pieter-Dirk Uys, presents the astonishing The Echo of a Noise - a one-man memoir.  In this astounding production, South Africa’s foremost satirist sits on a barstool, opens his heart and talks about his private and public life, leading the audience into his inner-sanctuary with stories that can evoke surprise, laughter and tears.

Now in his 71st year, Uys doesn’t glance back at the successes and failures that have strengthened his belief in a constant improvement of his work, but at those small signposts that throughout his life subconsciously pointed him in a right and original direction: his father Hannes Uys and his mother Helga Bassel; his grandmothers, his teachers, his passions, Sophia Loren, censorship, false eyelashes and making a noise when everyone demanded silence.


PIETER-DIRK UYS on his one-man memoir

"The Echo of a Noise is the story of a life well-lived - a boy from Pinelands who grew up in a fractured society blessed with parents who brought music and love into the family. A boy who was stricken by the disease to please from an early age, overshadowed by church and school and a very strict father, and yet finding inspiration and excitement through his fantasies and imagination. The topics in the story will be shared by most of the audience: father, mother, sister, cat, swopping comics, seeing movies, Mozart, Elvis, something called sex, something named death, something remembered as love, laughter and maybe a tear - but throughout all the familiar noises of life that eventually create a symphony of celebration.

"I have never had the courage to get out from behind the masks and facades of the many characters I have performed on stage for over 7000 times. They were mainly there to focus on political madness and mirth. This is the first time I tell the story behind the stories. Maybe turning 70 has given me the thumbs-up to share the secrets and let the cat out of the bag. I think the restrictions I was faced with as a writer and performer especially during the National Party years, helped me create possibilities of confronting them through unexplored avenues - in my case, using humour as a weapon of mass distraction. To laugh at fear could help make that fear less fearful, and let's face it, our lives in South Africa during the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 1980s were shaped by fears. Laughter was a relief. It still is. And Evita was just one of those characters who eventually stepped out of the satirical cluster and became the most famous white woman in South Africa - then and now. Of course reactions to my work has changed over the years.  I expect my audience to change reactions from performance to performance, because the material is based on the news of the day and often the prejudices we all have to face when confronted with so many choices, especially in this democracy that constantly demands change of mind and opinion. Theatre is live; news is live - and yet entertainment demands more than just headlines. My characters have to be familiar and representative of the many areas of conflict. I try and keep to the balance of 49% anger versus 51% entertainment. Then and now.

"I've been doing what I do since 1968 - it is a full-time commitment and because it is always reinventing itself, theatre keeps me on my toes and living in the moment. The great library of stories that have been shared from the stage has done so much to allow us in the audience to confront the drama of life, of relationships, of pain, of turmoil and strife. And of course, the release of tensions through laughter, either via comedy or humour. Politics has today become pure theatre, but I would rather stick to the stage that be brained in Parliament by a flying red hardhat!"

- Pieter-Dirk Uys
(follow the latest episode of Evita's Free Speech on YouTube every Sunday)