Caution: Genius passing through

Last night I sat, an inspired tear quivering in my eye, and realized with a shock just how much potential we have in all of us.

Pretty bold way to start a post here. Well, that’s the aftermath of seeing one of South Africa’s most lauded theatre makers for the first time ever.

Pieter-Dirk Uys had his last showing of “Adapt or Fly” at the Rhodes Theatre on Friday and I found myself completely engaged in this politically-charged, supremely-written piece of theatre.

Sure, I might have been one of the youngest people in the venue (which is something I’m not used to saying, given my “mature” years in comparison to my varsity peers), but the experience itself was just THAT amazing.

Pieter-Dirk Uys: Adapt or fly

Pieter had also given a talk for the drama students earlier in the week, so I came to the show expecting quite a lot. And he didn’t disappoint.

We had clamoured to get into the Box Theatre at lunchtime on Thursday. In strolled the aged genius that is Pieter. His talk was laced with the funniest jabs at the audience.

It basically highlighted some key points in his glorious journey in local theatre and, though many people would argue, I would call his whole presentation a darn good stand-up set.

Everyone was just in stitches for pretty much the whole hour. It was also the first time I saw Andrew Buckland (our department head) genuinely cracking up (not to imply that he’s a stony-faced, icy man), so Pieter was definitely doing something right. The sheer admiration with which Buckland introduced him was also a telling factor, given the former’s own legend in South African theatre.

Friday night came and I dashed down-campus and managed to get one of the last tickets. What a night.

It was the first show I saw in a long time that had an interval.

Pieetr‘s characterization is phenomenal. Morphing from the age-old architects of apartheid, to a middle-aged coloured auntie in the Cape Flats, to the iconic Evita Bezuidenhout, it was all met with collective awe and ear-splitting applause.

It was more than just a parade of accents and physical nuances. The script is so well-written and the stories come together to make for some powerful commentary.

Evita Bezuidenhout made an appearance in "Adapt or Fly"

What I took from the whole experience is that… well… it can be done. It’s as simple as that.

There are a lot of rungs on that success ladder before selling out the Rhodes Theatre. The next rung is Kimberly East Hall and their Welcome Dinner. I won’t exactly be churning out characters, but hopefully laughter from the audience.

Just before that, though, comes the very first performance this year for Nat(urally) Caf(feinated). We’re back on that improvised comedy grind as part of the SRC-endorsed Live Smart Week. Hopefully we have a good return to the fore.

The nerves for my stand-up have been brewing since I got back to Rhodes a couple of weeks ago. The success and exposure from last year was a massive blessing, but it’s left me with a the heaviest of loads and a benchmark that I need to surpass.

My material has become a lot more personal. I think the more I do this, the more of my own experience is reflected on stage.

Here goes…

Stay tuned.

-Tyson

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