The performer stares into the dressing room mirror after the show, the applause now a memory as the chatter of theatre patrons makes its way out of the lobby. He removes his stage makeup with a sponge, methodically revealing strips of skin beneath the mask of his character. It is a deeply personal moment, the man behind the mask revealing himself to himself, and then to the world. A book can have the same effect. In Pieter-Dirk Uys: The Echo of a Noise: A Memoir of Then and Now, Uys draws us into his unmasking, revealing the man behind the persona, and the person behind the man, the little boy who just wanted to wear long pants. Uys pulls off a story-telling coup. He delicately takes us on a first-person journey that starts in his early childhood with a nonjudgmental innocence that suspends belief. We read his words as if they are really those of a small boy experiencing the world for the first time, despite the well-crafted storytelling of an acclaimed writer and performer. The rea...

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