‘A ticket to paradise’
The play is set in the remote countryside of northern France, but it took little effort for Majd Mardo to be inspired by Édouard Louis' character in Gevechten en metamorfosen van een vrouw. They have striking interfaces.
By Irene Bloemink
Majd Mado has only been part of the ITA ensemble for a few years and started with the performance Een klein leven in 2018. "A huge entry. I am very proud that I was able to participate in it. For me to be part of this now, I thought. It was like stepping into a warm bath, a great experience." From a faraway country, he talks about Gevechten en metamorfosen van een vrouw, in which he performs together with Marieke Heebink under the direction of Ivo van Hove. They had barely played for a week in 2021, when the lockdown arrived.
Cleaning up mess
Mardo speaks in a relaxed way but passionately at the same time. "Édouard Louis discovered that writing was his way into another life. For me, that's acting. 100% comparable. For him, writing is a beautiful way to better understand your mother and to understand yourself in how you look at your mother. That way you can clean up the mess from your past and come closer together. He has found a genius way. While acting, I sometimes got emotional and thought: if only I could write, I could do that too. "
"I was in pre-vocational secondary education, not the best level, and not somewhere where you are pushed into the arts. There I had to "do something with my hands". I had to discover my talent myself, go after it. I needed creativity instead of stamping books. The passion to want something different, the urge for a different life - PARIS: the big city, books and literature in the play - was just as strong in me. I wanted something other than life as it was. Being seen, being the centre of attention, speaking the language better than the Dutch. And performing Britney Spears at school with a little boombox instead of talking about how the weekend was. Wonderful. It is like a gift you have been given by the universe, or from whoever you receive it. Acting is my ticket to paradise."
"Actually, I would like to speak French. In Dutch my text is occasionally contemplative and goes backwards and forwards between past and present. The French is so much richer. That comes from his (Édouard Louis) gut. Making the text liveable has been my quest. You know, that's what Ivo van Hove is good at: writing, cutting and pasting. He cleverly alternated the heavy text with comic relief. That lightness makes it possible to go back into the depths, otherwise you miss the target. The lightness makes it all the more tragic."
"Marieke and I have clicked incredibly well. She is amazing as an actor, as a person, she has so much experience. She is very good at pointing it out when she is unsure about something. You don't have to pretend you know everything. I feel safe with her. You can try things without embarrassment, without thinking: what would she think of me?
Yes, I long for a full house. That's the great thing about playing at ITA: those full halls. I've already played in a packed Carré once. Wonderful. With an audience, a performance acquires a soul."