The American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) is pleased to announce the return to Cambridge of the fabulously funny performer/satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys with his new show, Elections & Erections: A Chronicle of Fear and Fun. Presented at the A.R.T.’s Zero Arrow Club, at the corner of Arrow Street and Mass. Ave, Cambridge, Elections and Erections runs from Thursday, April 3 through Sunday, May 4. The Zero Arrow performance space will once again be transformed into the intimate Club, the cabaret setting with tables and a cash bar previously used for The Onion Cellar, A Marvelous Party, and Sxip’s Hour of Charm.
Pieter Dirk Uys inaugurated the A.R.T.’s Zero Arrow Theatre to enormous critical and audience success with his show Foreign Aids, presented as part of the A.R.T.’s South African Festival in 2005. One of the world’s great political cabaret performers, he has been raising laughs and AIDS awareness in South Africa and worldwide. Uys brings with him a host of special guests, all of whom he performs with uncanny accuracy and deep affection, including Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and his most outrageous creation – the glamorous Evita Bezuidenhout, the self-described “most famous white woman in South Africa.” His new performance piece, Elections & Erections – coming to us during our own election year – is his latest, most outrageous attack on political outrage, which underlines the “mock” in democracy and exposes the “con” in reconciliation. With his chorus line of monsters, masters, and madams, Uys uses humor to puncture state hypocrisy and to speak truth to power.
In Pieter Dirk-Uys’ own words about this show: “Elections & Erections is a journey through the minefields of fear and fun from the point of view of a white South African who saw the light early on in his restricted society and didn’t close the curtains. That light was the weapon of humor against bad politics. Democracy and sex were illegal during the apartheid years, and so with this as a basis, I pitch my satirical tent at the crossroads of two impending elections – the U.S. Presidential Election in November and the next South Africa General Election in April 2008. Some have suggested that the show in Cambridge can only be about Hillary and Bill Clinton. Elections & Erections is not a Clinton family copyright. ANC President Jacob Zuma, heir apparent to the presidency of South Africa, recently admitted having unprotected sex with a woman who was HIV-positive – but was in no danger as he had a shower afterwards!” Uys brings 6 different characters to his stage to illustrate various aspects of our shared fears and fun – from affirmative action as inspired by the U.S., to freedom of speech in both SA and the U.S., where terms and conditions apply more and more.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1945, Pieter-Dirk Uys has been in the theatre since the mid-1960s and was closely associated with both the Space Theatre in Cape Town and Johannesburg Market Theatre during the 1970s and 1980s. He has written and performed twenty plays and over thirty revues and one-man shows throughout South Africa and abroad. His plays Paradise is Closing Down, Panorama, God’s Forgotten, Faces in the Wall, and Just Like Home have been performed internationally, and his one-man shows Adapt or Dye, One Man One Volt, You ANC Nothing Yet, Truth Omissions, Live from Boerassic Park, Dekaffirnated, Foreign Aids, and Elections & Erections have been presented in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Holland, the USA, and Canada. He received an Obie Award for his 2004 performance of Foreign Aids at La Mama ETC in New York City. Most of his satirical work is available in South Africa on video, which, in spite of government censorship during apartheid, allowed him to build up a very large multiracial audience (members of the present democratic Parliament remember seeing his videos in prison and in exile!). He has been seen on South African television since the late 1970s in a variety of programs, has written numerous books including Elections & Erections; premiered his new play Auditioning Angels in July 2003, and his satire celebrating ten years of democracy, The End is Naai, was performed throughout South Africa and abroad. He was awarded South Africa’s prestigious Truth and Reconciliation Award in 2001, honorary degrees from several universities; and Evita Bezuidenhout proudly received the Living Legacy 2000 Award in San Diego, U.S. During the last six years he has been traveling around South Africa, visiting over 500 schools and one million school children, as well as prisons and reformatories, with a free AIDS-awareness entertainment called “For Facts Sake!” He has also released corporate AIDS-information videos (“Having Sex with Pieter-Dirk Uys” and “It’s just a Small Prick”) as well as one for the family ( “Survival Aids”). The 2007 Australian documentary directed by the 17-year-old Julian Shaw, Darling: The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story, is being shown at festivals worldwide and this month it was awarded one of the three top prizes for documentary films at the Berlin Film Festival.