Sachli Gholamalizad about A reason to talk and (Not) my paradise

Your performances are very personal. In A reason to talk you interview your mother. Sometimes it comes across as very harsh. Was that a conscious choice on your part? 

It was never my choice to be so harsh. At least in my mind it was never my intention. We had just had a huge argument before filming, and I couldn’t pretend it hadn’t happened. The filming had to be done. I couldn’t delay it. (Smiles) My tone may be sharper than usual, but it is honest. It shows even more clearly our struggle together. This makes it more confrontational to watch, not only for the audience but also for me as a daughter (and ‘fellow’ performer).

You have performed this piece so often now. Has it brought you closer together?
Yes and no. After all these performances, and I have done almost 70 now, I am always confronted with myself and my harshness towards her but also with her blindness to my pain. We have accepted that we really love each other and cannot let go of each other either, but that we also drive each other mad. We are each other's mirror. We realize that we are who we are and that all the surrounding factors have made us who we are. With all our good and bad sides.  But we also respect and love one another. And fortunately we express this often enough to each other.

How do you explain the success of this highly personal story?
Well, we all have a mother. So naturally many are able to recognise themselves in A reason to talk. However personal the approach to this performance may be, it is about universal themes and this is why it works. The beauty of touring with this production is that it connects people. It transcends boundaries. Creating this performance had a very cathartic effect on me and I see that same catharsis in the audience.

And now in French. In Théâtre National? How exciting is that?
Being allowed to perform in French, I can delve even deeper and bring out other ways of expressing feelings. However subtle the changes may be, I think they make a big difference on stage. I'm really looking forward to it.

And then this will be followed by (Not) my paradise. The difficult second performance.
Which is also very exciting. I have the confidence to continue to explore my own language. I feel supported in my desire to search and explore and am glad I can delve even further and examine how to reconcile my world with the world outside. How I can learn to place both worlds for myself, as well as present them to others.