‘Retyre? No, retread!’ says Pieter-Dirk Uys

Pieter-Dirk Uys, almost famous without his mask. Picture: Hentie Van Der Merwe

Author, satirist and social activist Pieter-Dirk Uys is far from retiring and is back with a brand new show called Sell-By-Date, now on stage at Theatre On The Bay until Saturday June 10.

Uys says audiences can expect an adventure. “Expect me alone on stage but never on my own, as there is always a place for my usual suspects. I also hope my audience is pleasantly shocked by the new energy I display after three years of freeze-frame. The theatre has been alive for over 2000 years. It’s great to give it another few weeks of fun. So come and be part of the adventure. No sell-by date here!”

When asked what the show is about, Uys called it a celebration between ages.

“It is a celebration of being older than 55 and younger than 77. We have all been through a hellishly complicated last few years, from one state of disaster to the next. So more than ever, it’s time for laughter and hope, for optimism and excitement. I am recovering from knee-replacement surgery and as a result the thought of my sell-by date does crop up. But does that mean our democracy is also reaching its sell-by date? Not if we can help it with a bit of humour.”

Uys doesn’t mention a favourite character to play but rather a complicated one which is himself. “My most complicated character is always ‘Pieter-Dirk Uys’ – but once I’ve got him sorted out, the stage is open for Tannie Evita. Nowell Fine, Bambi Kellermann, Desmond Tutu, Madiba, Winnie and a host of other hellos and goodbyes.”

With the country’s state of affairs constantly being in shambles, we had to ask the political theatre performer his thoughts. Uys said that once his year had 365 days but now it only has two, today and tomorrow.

“If I make today a reality with all its demands, tomorrow will be a hopeful day of positive thinking and energy. So the current state of affairs will always chop and change. We must just keep in touch and remember that for every piece of bad news, there are at least three pieces of good news – but find it. Good news is busy working; it’s the bad news that is frightening,” he said.

Uys said to call entertainment by any name is risky and he uses political issues to focus on what works and what doesn’t work in life. “We have at present, the best government money can buy, so it would be a shame not to include their ‘loadsheds’, lockdowns and scandals to brighten up the day. Laughing at fear can make that fear less fearful.”

Uys says one of his golden rules during his years of performing is to tell a fresh story. “Tell the audience the story as if for the first time: fresh, energetic, a bit shocking and always with a touch of wink and giggle.”

Sell-By-Date starts this week and runs for 70 to 80 minutes. Tickets are available at Webtickets and range between R150 and R250.