Interview With…Victor Esses

The writer and performer chatted to us about the upcoming UK tour of Where To Belong based on his own life story.

(c)Holly Revell.

Hi Victor, for those who don’t know what is Where to Belong about? ‘Where to Belong’ is an autobiographical one man show exploring how to find your place in a rich and complex world of identities. As a Jewish-Lebanese, Brazilian, and gay man, this story marks my journey to find my place in the world.

How does it feel to be taking the play out on tour? I’m excited at the prospect of being back on a stage with real people of flesh and blood in front of me experiencing the show, not avatars (although I have enjoyed experimenting with digital theatre). I’m so glad to feel safer in my body at this point and really look forward to meeting everyone again and create this.

Could you explain more about how the show came about? In January 2017 I visited my parents’ hometown of Beirut, in Lebanon for the first time and that triggered a lot of questions about my identity, having been born and grown up in Brazil in a Jewish community and then moved to London when I was 18 so I could live my life as I wanted as a gay man has meant that my identity has often reshaped. All of these journeys have made me who I am and I wanted to find the place that connected all of them… to explore if it even existed… and to meet the
audience as the unique and every person that I am.

How did it feel to visit Lebanon for the first time? It was an intense and emotional experience. A real trip of discovery. I could feel that a part of me had been there before, be it through my parents and also the stories they told me and some feeling inside. It was so overwhelming, at one point I got physically ill. But I recovered and visited many of the places that were meaningful to my family. This started my quest for my own identity and also
resulted in Where To Belong.

What would you love for audiences to take away from Where to Belong? To learn of difference, to identify and connect, to leave with a little something that they didn’t have before, a thought, a feeling that will carry on and trigger other thoughts and feelings that help them relate to others and themselves a bit more.

By Emma Clarendon

Where to Belong is is embarking on a UK tour from the 3rd September until the 14th October.

%d bloggers like this: