1061 words | interviewer: Abdalla Hassan | location: Alive | June 1999
After being exposed to public scrutiny,
Abdalla and Noha meet again
SATURDAY APRIL 24TH 12:30 PM
Abdalla: What’s up, Noha?
Noha: What do you mean what’s up? A lot is up.
When did you see the magazine?
I saw the magazine a week ago.
Did you read it?
I read my interview—I had mixed feelings . . . I actually hated it (laugh). I hated it.
I just . . . I wasn’t objective about it at all, and I um . . . started looking at things, like the way I speak—the rhythm of my speech, and the pauses and the “umms” and the “wows” and all the different things that I say. I just thought I sounded like a total airhead. I was very disappointed. I guess that’s the way it is when you look at something that you did whether you hear your voice, or you’re on screen and you see yourself . . . read what you said in print.
What did your friends think of it?
Well I have one friend who read it and . . .
What’s her name?
Sahar, and well she liked it; she likes the magazine as a whole, and she likes my interview.
What do you think she likes about it?
She likes it because she says she feels it’s sincere.
Um . . . did Tarek see it?
What did you think of the picture?
I liked the picture a lot. I think it’s very well done. When I went to the shoot I couldn’t imagine what the outcome would be, but now that I see it I am really impressed with what Nagi and Hassan did.
Um . . . did you get any . . . did you hear about any of the schools you applied to?
Yeah. I got three rejections. I applied to three schools and I got three rejections.
How did you feel about it?
Well, I was very depressed. I was really, really depressed for almost a whole week. But then I got this sense of energy and I felt I sorta bounced back. I felt more energy and more impetus to go on with what I want to do. So I am going to reapply again. Meanwhile, I am trying to get more professional experience because that is what they all want. They say it’s not enough to get experience in a university. You have to get exposed to the real world more . . . the professional world and um . . . so that you know if that’s what you want or not.
For starters I worked on this film graduation project with this director who was graduating from the cinema institute—and well that’s not really as professional as I guess what they want but it’s just something I haven’t done before. I guess it’s a step. And I’m working with Attar—I acted with Attar. He’s a theater director who took his play to Jordon last year. So, I don’t know. I’m trying to get as much out of the professional world as possible (laughs). But I guess I will stay on the periphery, you know. That’s more interesting.
What is the periphery?
I mean working with people like Attar and doing my own stuff, or working with friends—things that are stimulating. I am a bit skeptical about the mainstream theater here in Egypt.
Well I just don’t see that there is any art at all.
I can’t tell you that I know much about art.
I don’t either.
Like I wouldn’t know how to talk intelligently about art.
I don’t think art was meant to be talked intelligently about. Or else, pardon my word, it would be like masturbation. If you did art so that the art connoisseurs could just go and talk intelligently about it—it defeats the whole purpose.
Is there any part of the interview, the stuff that we said that you thought was going to be in it that wasn’t?
Umm . . . actually I thought all the stuff I said about my friends would be in it and I’m so happy it’s not.
Yeah. Because I really can’t remember what I said and I’m just glad it’s not (laughs).
Umm . . . and if you had to describe yourself in one word, what would
I can’t describe myself in one word.
You have to try.
No. I refuse to try.
Well I was asked that question once.
And what did you say?
I said something silly.
I don’t know. I said I was shy.
Well, I’m sorry. I don’t want to describe myself in one word.
What makes you happy?
Hmmm (silence) a good night’s sleep.
Did you have a good night’s sleep last night?
Um . . . is there anything you would really want to do before you die?
Yeah. I would like to swim with a dolphin—that’s what I really want.
Do you know how to swim?
I’m not good at swimming.
But you know how to swim, right?
I know how to stay afloat. I think that’s as good as I get.
Did you run out of questions?
Umm . . . no . . . I’m surprised you didn’t like the interview.
It’s not about you. I just hated myself, not your questions, or the way you conducted the interview. I just hated the way I spoke. I became too judgmental, which I always am, you know, and . . . it’s like hearing yourself for the first time. You just hate your voice, you become so self-conscious, that’s all. [Flicks the cigarette butt from the balcony.] Sorry I am not very environmentally friendly (laughs).
Are you more conscious now of what you say, of what you would say?
No, see yesterday I though I’d come in and be very silent and you know speak with a British accent and just answer to the minimum, but um . . . no. Don't worry.
Has it become a chore for you?
Not really. It’s just that today I’m not in the best of moods. Nothing personal . . . my wisdom tooth is killing me—I’d rather be in bed right now. That’s all.
Are there people you hate?
Hate is very strong. Yeah but there is one person I hate. I can’t tell you. I won’t tell you (laughs).
I just won’t.
Ok you can tell me off the record.
Maybe later but not know, (pause) but you usually hate people that you love very much.