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MALTATODAY 22 January 2023

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 22 JANUARY 2023 5 THEATRE Kreattiv was an entirely different ball game. For starters I had no pre- vious experience, so I simply had to learn thing as I went along – easily the craziest thing I ever did. Challenges were manifold on several levels: logistics, per- sonnel changes, coordination, blending all the different ele- ments such as music, dance film into a one, single piece, time, money, professional relations and, of course, the pandemic. This piece was originally scheduled for 2020 but it wasn't to be. Admittedly, during the COVID-19 lockdown I was having lots of second thoughts about proceeding with the pro- ject – I had almost decided to call it a day. Also, kick-starting just about everything post-lock- down – almost from scratch at times – was certainly the biggest headache we had to deal with. That was hell, as well, but also a learning curve. What can the audience expect from the production? What do you think will surprise the audience the most? Frankly, I don't know. Differ- ent people tend to focus on dif- ferent things. I can't recall a sin- gle instance when my take on a play – or any other work of art – was exactly like mine. Neverthe- less, I presume that the integra- tion of danztheatre – invoking the living among the dead – into the whole performance might surprise many. But that's not for me to decide. Spazju Kreattiv is an imitate space. How does that influence the audience's experience with the material? As I said my aim has always been, even a as naïve teen, to stage this work at Spazju Kreat- tiv. I've always believed that this play should engage the audience as much as possible. After all this piece is, for most intents and purposes, about them. Director Tyrone Grima and I had agreed – right from the outset – that we should strive to create an intimate, possi- bly claustrophobic, experience. Due to structural reasons, most performances I've seen abroad lacked this basic element. So, thank goodness we have Spazju Kreattiv. I can't think of any oth- er venue. There's also a major phenome- nological Sartrean theme at play here: the look – one's visibility to another. Throughout the per- formance actors Antonella Ax- isa, Sarah Camilleri and André Mangion will be looked at by the audience from a far more im- mediate vantage point. Moreo- ver, this proximity is reciprocal. This should create, hopefully at least, a rather uncommon theat- rical experience – the audience would feel, as well, as if they're being watched – addressed, judged, scorned even. Can you talk to us about why you felt using Maltese and foreign choreographers was necessary for this production? I've always been interested in the art of dance choreography, especially those of Asian vari- ants. During my time in Lux- embourg this fascination was enhanced by some chance meet- ings with several internationally acclaimed choreographers, most notably Japanese dancer Yuko Kominami who will feature in this piece on screens along with Luxemburgish dancer Jill Cro- visier and Dorian Mallia. We could have easily opted for a conventional approach by hir- ing more actors, but both Gri- ma and I felt that choreograph- ing certain passages on screen would be more effective and maybe also a little innovative. But enough with spoilers. Furthermore, internationali- sation has become an essential part of our National Cultural Policy in general and Arts Coun- cil Malta's strategy for coming years in particular. Speaking of local entities, I'd like to thank Spazju Kreattiv for making their venue avail- able, MCAST for offering a much-needed rehearsal space and Arts Council Malta for sup- porting the project through its funding programme. Photos: Steven Levi Vella

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