performing the self

A man and a woman sit opposite to each other. A protection officer and an asylum seeker are waiting for the interpreter. A conversation ensues. They flirt, philosophize and reveal their mutual expectations. What if this interrogation is a maker or breaker in the asylum seeker's life? "Performing the self - the interview" is an intimate dialogue about credibility and trust, about language and translatability, about cultural misunderstandings and portraying your own truth. (55’, EN, NL, ARA)




Asylum Seeker: [ashamed, apologizing] But when I am under pressure, I don’t always perform at my best.


Protection Officer [whispering] I know that feeling.


A.S.: [surprised] Really?


P.O: Of course! I am also under pressure here. You have to deal with your story only, while I, I have hundreds in my head. And more will come. You are so many-


A.S.: [interrupting] I am only one.


P.O.: [complaining] And I have to make quick decisions ...


A.S.: [after a cold silence] Still, I don’t feel we are really in the same boat.


P.O.: Just keep in mind you have to be yourself! Super natural!


A.S.: Supernatural?


P.O.: Super [exaggerated pause] natural. Nothing more, nothing less. [An advice, again. Smiling] You don't have to impress me, you know? [encouraging, informative] Just tell me what happened to you, without additions or gaps. Step by step, we’ll go slowly back to where you belong and create a reasonable plot. This is such a good opportunity for you!


(Video off.)


(...) In this brief moment 'between the lines', two people in a hierarchical situation are sincerely trying to communicate with each other, to show something of themselves and to understand each other. Above all, vulnerability and humanity take a central spot, resulting in a constant interplay between rationality and poetry. (...) What is special about this performance is that the material stems from the author’s own professional experience and thorough research. That reality is palpable in the new and fresh perspective they offer on a current and contested situation that is depicted in art and media.

(jury’s report, Theater Aan Zee, 2018)




Concept, text, dramaturgy, set design: Enrica Camporesi en Elena Mazzi

On stage: Maya Sannen en Fady Alghorra

External eyes: Mokhalled Rasem, Koen Van Kaam, Kristin Rogghe, Geert Belpaeme

Video: Daniele Alef Grillo

Stage technicians: Luca Mattei, Milan De Wael

Subtitles: Laurien Versmissen

Production: d e t h e a t e r m a k e r, Fondation Thalie

Co-production: De Vooruit

With the support of: W I P C O O P / MAP, Fonds voor talentontwikkeling – Stad Antwerpen, Musumeci


In collaboration with: Schrijfatelier Zuidpool, Rataplan, Troubleyn/Labo, Victoria Deluxe

Thanks to Tyson Beilan, Carl Cappelle, Katie Lenanton, KunstZ.






Red Star Line Museum/Antwerpen (2019/2020) / vragen aan Enrica Camporesi 


Balloon Project (9/4/2018) - Interview (IT/ENG) by curator Valentina Barbagallo / performing-the-self


Juliet Art Magazine (16/03/2018)


Interview with Fondation Thalie, here 


Video Interview