Teatru Triptiku - BAĦĦAR

In support of my good friend and 'brother' Jacob Piccinino

 and my new friends 

Alan and Arthur,


I was pleased to have watched and recorded 

their third and final intervention "Baħħar"

for the Opening Ceremony of V18 two days ago.


Pardon the slight lack of quality.

Do view, 


comment on Youtube

and support the guys

from Teatru Triptiku.


No Copyright Infringement Intended. 

All Rights of music go to their original composers. 

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

The Wishing Thread Tales (ZiguZajg Part 2)

Aħna’Aħwa jew m’aħniex?
Frolic Theatre Company


This was the only theatre performance and in Maltese from the whole festival programme this year. Saw this with my sibling on the very last night of the festival, and as an audience member I got to support Leanne Ellul, another good friend of mine and in the arts, who was involved in this production. She wrote up the script and then passed it on to the director Marta Vella.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

The noteworthy title (translated as "Are We Siblings or Aren't We?") for starters certainly caught my attention. The set up within the performance space was very simple, in that they depended on a few white wooden boxes made accessible in more ways than one to seamlessly flow into different scenes.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017


For a play that depended solely on the two actors Jamie Cardona and Ronald Briffa as the slightly estranged brothers it delivered plenty. The lines gave punch in humour and emotion, the contrasts of character was well delivered and truly human. 


The development of the story equally so as their characters directly and indirectly help each other, not only out of their grief of losing their parents so suddenly but also out of their personal inhibitions. The businessman older brother Alex needed to get out of a dead-end relationship, out of the superficial 'responsibilities' of work in London and focus on a better, more worthy responsibility; taking care of Pete his younger brother while getting him out of his shell to follow his baking passion. 

Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

A good amount was delivered within that limited time of 50 minutes; my sibling certainly enjoyed and for someone who's not so interested in theatre that says alot. The plot didn't seem like it was trying to compensate for lack of other characters present. In a way, the two characters were good instruments for the playwright to be able to weave the other characters into the audience's imagination. One brother mentioning a classmate or another mimicking their father or recalling their mother's kindness didn't feel tedious at all.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

These two actors worked and complimented each other very well; 

when Alex comes home hungover 

after having made a nasty gastro-blend 

of alcohol and a birthday cake 

meant for Pete's classmate the night before, 

and Pete, being the younger of the two, 

paradoxically maintained a father-like maturity and asks, 

"From a scale of 10 to 10, how stoned were you last night?" (my rough translation).

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

Most especially in the strong vulnerable scene where Pete suffers an anxiety attack; it brought more sensitively into full circle the direct impact of the tragedy, his outpouring of being able to grieve and how this displays right there what happened that day which then developed Pete's sense of guilt. That was a brilliant written scene to bring the brothers closer.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

 I salute to Leanne for creating a brilliant piece of work, to Marta who executed an active and seamless vision with the simple devices used at hand, and to the actors who supported each other really well to bring this production together to even gain the interest of older audiences.

The Wishing Thread



One of the prominent installations in Ziguzajg that most of us assistants had a good number of rounds; it served to be an experience for those young and old writing up the wishes, intended to instigate hope for good in the future and appreciate the environment in the green scenery. Situated in front of the new Parliament building (with Stefania seen above), at Castille Place opposite St James Cavalier and at St George's Square, all within Valletta.


It also served as an experience for us assistant on our end, not just receiving them and tying them up for them but in encountering and meeting various stories in those encounters waiting to be told.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

They were even, for me personally, encountering diverse people from various walks of life, a story inspiration waiting to happen.  I had the pleasure to meet Manala, the creator behind this installation, during one of my rounds at Republic Street.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

It is inspired and adapted by an Indian festival 'Vat Purmina', founded and became an annual tradition by a myth  From what little I can remember, the myth goes that a woman falls in love with a man who she knows has few years left to live, but marries him anyways. Close to the time, she fasts for days out of love for him in the hopes that he would live. What else I can remember is that every year women would fast for their husbands and tie threads for them on a banyan tree (the national tree of India) as they pray for them.Copyright © Diandra A. 2018


How ever accurate the myth really is about, the adaptation into the installation was well transformed into that floral eye-catching sight children (and tourists) would be drawn to. They would write a wish of good will for others on paper tags provided, and then tie their wishes onto the woolen string woven into the potted local flora. 


Later on during the week I've learned, 

and managed to share with the public, 

that by the end of the festival 

all the written wishes 

would be collected 

and archived. 


The installation I'm certain did encourage 'wishers'  to keep hope alive while appreciating nature. 


As I said earlier it created a unique experience for us assistants, 

especially through the people I personally encountered.  

In the midst of bombastic bus-cades from freshly toga-ed graduates, air horns and all 


- in the midst of young 'veteran' wishers looking for theirs tied in plastic coverings


- and the friendly reunions of young acquaintances 

which I will treasure the surprise 

at having seen them again. 

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018


A Maltese mother and son came to the Castille area during my night shift. 

As he was writing his wish, they were on their way to see a show at the School of Art some streets down, 

where his mother said it was the same venue he'd done music exams for the drums. 


I recommended 

he ought to listen 

to the song Take Five 

from the jazz band The Dave Brubeck Quartet. 

Knowing my slight dyscalculia I might have written them the wrong year, 

so here's the version I was aiming for with the drum solo.  




It was a bonus one quiet night 

for the installation to be visited 

by six women from the Netherlands

all enthusiastic to write down their wishes. Copyright © Diandra A. 2018


At one point I was made part of a selfie treasure hunt. Twice. 

Groups of people from some finance or insurance 

- can't remember what it was exactly 

- were going round Valletta 

finding people to pose in selfies with them 

for this treasure hunt. 


I simply stood holding up my name tag 

so Ziguzajg will be noticed and sneakily advertised. 

At least the second group 

accepted the exchange of writing up some wishes 

for the Wishing Thread in return.


A little girl from China

who looked about five years old, 

came up with her mother and she drew a cute little angel on her paper tag, 

and it was equally sweet to have posed with her 

as her mother took a photo from her phone.


One kid declared out loud his enthusiastic wish before writing it down, 

a sweet friend to one Elliot; 

he wished for his friend Elliot to be "a Flash".

His mother smiled warmly 

at his innocent declaration, 

saying "I'm sure Elliot will be really happy with that".

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

Il piccolo Damone e sua famiglia. At my "Parliament shift", this young Italian family came up, I thought they were tourists but they've been residing in Malta, for over a year I believe. They perused some of the tied wishes, with the father holding the cutest few-month-old baby boy, eyes bright turquoise blue, his whole outfit was blue right up to his beanie hat with ears sown on top.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

I remember this sweet encounter clearly, 

mostly by the wish that his mother wrote in Italian, 

written on little Damone's behalf:

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

"I am four months old; this year I will be celebrating my first Christmas. So my wish will be that all the little children like me will receive the joy and happiness that Christmas always brings!". 

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

(signed with a little doodle 

of a baby's face 

and a strand of curly hair 

poking out of his head)

  Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

During one of the boisterous buscades at Castille Place, an American architect student got interested in the installation in the midst of rambunctious whistles. Seeming close to my age, she's from Washington DC, studying at Pennsylvania, currently in Rome who is on holiday in Malta to see St John's Co-Cathedral.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

In passing her a festival program she got her interested in the events going on AND she made a good choice that same evening in seeing TAG which were among the performances I recommended to her that were going on that day, and this was when I got to watch it a second time.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

There was also this affectionate and enthusiastic American family from DC who were having a self-planned family holiday in a few countries, where Malta was their penultimate stop, before going to Sicily and then back home.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

The paper tags helped me again this time, as the mother asked what sights to see within Valletta, to get them to the Co-Cathedral to see Caravaggio's 'Beheading of St John', which intrigued her as it turned out she had studied art in college and had covered a little on Caravaggio. It had definitely felt good that day to recommended this to the family, as they seemed to like winging it on holidays - which has its merits as much as a plan, but it would have been a shame for them to have missed it, especially for the art grad.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

 I too grasped the opportunity

to write two wishes for the thread, 

having tied them both to Parliament area, 

and created two other copies of those originals 

that I now keep in my room as other personal mementos 

of my Ziguzajg adventure in 2017. 



Naturally I'm not gonna share them out here! 

They're archived now so that's good enough for me.


Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

As I look back with a relaxed smile, re-living the jovial air and adventure and all the ZiguZajg Festival brought,

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

it helped me grow, as I served, as an actor, 


as a theatre practitioner,


as an artist, 


as an art-and-theatre-lover, 


as a lover of innocence.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

And having assisted and reminisced 

it solidified the nagging idea 

that manifested itself 

into the production idea and process 

I have till now created and proposed for this year's festival, 

having officially sent my proposal two days ago.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018


After seeing and befriending some performers 

and artists in their own medium . . .

I am itching to create


to begin


to delve


to form a new family among friends 


a bigger family even


to still be a part of that creative community.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018


I have friends in the arts 

who willingly need to rest after strenuous months, 

and that's understandable . . .

but that internal blaze in me keeps growing 

expanding to reach out to share

to befriend

and create.


Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

  Here's to hope!

Copyright © Diandra A. 2018

Zigi Zigi Zigi! - Oi Oi Oi! (Zigu! Zajg!)

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.  

~ G.K. Chesterton ~

Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
Starved a wee bit . . .  
 Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
But was all worth it! 
 Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
Took me a few good days last week to get physically rested. 
Still waking up at 5am-ish, but it'll pass. 
Had enough energy - thankfully! - to prepare for an audition, 
perform it in the weekend Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
and then hang out with my younger sibling.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
A little history lesson; a few years ago, back in 2012 to be precise, I had heard from a classmate at Uni that assistants were needed for some arts festival for kids, new to my ears as the ZiguZajg Arts Festival. It intrigued me and I signed up to help for a few days during that edition. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

The atmosphere and seeing kids interact with installations and shows made for them got me so hooked that nearly every year after that I pestered the head co-ordinator . . .
(*sheepish grin* sorry Daniel)
asking if they needed assistants that year. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

The atmosphere was like bringing the playground to them; 
making it beyond their imaginings
in storytelling 
through the various artistic mediums; 
making greater imaginings reachable to savour. 
The artists of that edition 
(and - spoiler alert! - of this year) 
were telling kids 
that the playground is fun again, 
that to those 'funny people' in costumes, 
playing different characters,
telling stories in their own way,
through acting, dancing, performing out on the street,
the theatre and its space is the playground.

That inner hooked-ness 
(*sigh* )
(don't judge me please) 

for the festival and the whole package got me to attempt proposing a project idea earlier this year for this edition's festival, alongside Clare Azzopardi and Leanne Ellul. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
It got politely rejected,
Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
 but within me as a director and writer 
it ingrained the appreciation
 to advance further as a working artist, 
the routine of creating within a deadline 
and the focus that comes with facing a deadline.

Truly working as an artist.

It then led me to venture once more to inquire- this time to another person involved - 
and was glad to hear that a call for assistants was just opened and in perfect timing! 
So naturally I wanted to get into the very thick of it and, 
when I got accepted and signed on to take most days but two, 
I saw a variety that would have made any theatre practitioner feel gladdened with.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
Image result for ziguzajg 2017

Cheering on the inside to FINALLY place images on my blog again!
Here's hoping they show.
[N.B. No copyright infringement intended. All rights go to the photographers involved.]
[Insomma - you get it!]
 Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
Adone Theatre (France)

This was the first show I saw (and on the first day I sported the name tag and T-Shirt). There were some hiccups faced to enter the venue numerous times, as the guy behind the receptionist desk was being a 'little' uncooperative in opening the door for me to the main venue where this show was to be held. It had to take the festival co-ordinator and a security guard to put some sense into him.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Two performers presented to toddlers their innovative staging through music and a very flexible projector, with a tiny virtual character, playing alongside the human counterpart, venturing the various properties of water. The second human performer on the side played the musical backgrounds and intervals, created the sound effects through ordinary objects and sang in French. 

I particularly enjoyed how it was silent acting in a way, depending entirely on the ordinarily-made music, the interactions of the actors with each other, scenarios told based on expressions; the voiceovers made for the little virtual character in his encounters down the pipes and with his human counterpart, and who even got his own curtain call at the end. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Moveo Dance Company


Originally an open-air installation, it got moved to the British Legion Bar to avoid possible mishaps with the changing weather. 

It seemed many people who booked for this show with their kids imagined it to be about Greek gods and goddesses and mythology - which would have been an interesting concept to present as a performance for the festival. Though it wasn't. Younger audiences than the intended age came to watch, one even younger crowd I heard was not very impressed.

The two dancers showed promise and skill; how they manage to manipulate some of the props into their choreography, how the last-minute indoor setting seemed to work further for the performance to be more contained . . . the problem was the blasted full volume!

Every so often I had to cover my ears whenever a gradual high pitch was played in between, and I found out later on that the loud volume was intended.

The audiences I encountered and who came out afterwards praised the dancers for their talent, but the meaning was lost on them. It was pleasant though to see a group of girls imitating one of the dancers fainting and repeating it on each other.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

The other time I was scheduled at British Legion, I offered to be the one to wait outside the door within the bar, to brave any latecomers' disappointments. That particular evening I found myself pleasantly watching a group of five guys, clearly Brits by their nearly varied dialects, playing a different kind of pool and I was so engrossed into their game that I reacted a few times at some successes and misses. Just watching the way they were interacting with each other as they played their game and their banter was enjoyable to me and I received a few friendly side reactions from the fifth guy who was sort of acting as referee and point-counter. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Pamela Kerr & Kostas Papamatthaiakis


I have a confession to make. 
Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
This performance became, and is in memory still, one of my few personal favourites - if not my first favourite throughout the festival. I even got to see it twice (thankfully)!

I befriended the dancers Pamela and Kostas and simply enjoyed 'serving' them where needed. Not that I didn't enjoy doing so for the other performers I was assigned to - anzi! I was all out there in socialising and noting what the participating companies and performers needed in this edition. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

The thing was, it was more cordial; before seeing their performance I got to ask the 'Tag dancers' questions and learn on how their creative process is developed; shared some of my own approaches of using certain forms of choreography and vision in previous productions I did and directed (including presenting one small choreography with my hands from within a particular scene in Adam u Eva back in Notte Bianca 2016).  

Stated being a method actor and 'text-based', I had chosen to play around and incorporate with such choreography to season the scene and poetic text in Guze Aquilina's play more, and I really appreciated how, when I demonstrated the hand choreography with the lines from that scene, Kostas understood and pointed right out the subtext behind it, before I even highlighted it. (Brávo!)
 Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
A conversation among artists from different backgrounds, which was another thing I appreciated the most within the festival adventure if you will: bonding a community and comradeship.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017


I enjoyed greatly the contrasts of their personas as they told their story of boy-meets-girl,
their synchronised timing, especially in their 'date scenes' - those really cracked me up, 
the musical selection tracks which were constantly asked for their names by audience members. 
That vibrant Shalom track and the one right after it still reverberates in my memory.
Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
Curiously enough, I had interpreted the ending slightly different the first time 
before I could fully enjoy it in an evening performance/shift.
 Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
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Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
When she, Pamela's character, brings out the scissors out of her wooden box,
as the voiceover was heard closing with "But . . . to touch can be to give life",  
and she cut the elastic string situated over her head, 
prompting the blackout, Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

I had interpreted that to mean that she forgave him and removed the 'wall' that had barred him away from her and was interacted as such a wall a few times.

Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
But it turns out, 
she was actually cutting from him for good,
which made a little more sense 
as to the effect the string's sound made 
at being cut.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

- - -

It certainly switched on the creative ideas department 
in my head, 
and a particular production idea 
and plot 
which is growing 
and nagging
as I watched further performances, 
even at this moment  . . .

More on that in a later post, God-willing - moving on!
Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
- - -

Arch 8


Another foreign company, from the Netherlands (I had to look up which country the flag belonged to online, guilty as charged), though the performers are from different nationalities.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

The speciality of the four performers - and a secret fifth -  was dance promenade. (I think there was another particular term for it but can't remember it off the bat, it's a new word to my ear to be able to register it.) 

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One of the festival assistants walked with a massive boombox playing music, strapped around his shoulders, leading as to the route the performers were going, doing their thing.
Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Well . . . I say 'thing', but in truth it was beyond simple terms; all improvised and unexpected. A couple of them interacted with some of the audience, including me I can gleefully say, going in circles, climbing up walls and windows, intertwining with each other. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

One funny situation I faced was having ended up trapped by the four performers in their routine of rounding up some other audience members - my friend Jacob and his co-star Heloise to be precise -  as the four of them remained holding hands.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

 They even used the facade of the Old Royal Theatre (Teatru Rjal in Maltese) in Republic Street as their performance space - which then led to something even more intriguing! The performers weaved around making people hold each others' hands and in less than a minute there was a massive, long, human chain that wove around the street and other streets, popping in and out of shop doorways and stepping over some of the performers that made themselves interestingly convenient to lay on the ground in the way of the human chain.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Heading down a smaller road, close to the finale, I noticed that the fifth one dressed up as a tourist ended up lying on the floor in front of a bar. At first I thought he was meant to be found that way, that he was pretending to have passed out from too much drink ( . . . at a closed bar). But the next day I had found out that they had used a coconut in their routine throughout, including bonking and splitting the coconut on the fifth guy's head. 

I kept wracking my brain for a few days, wondering how did I manage to miss that. (I think I can be alittle forgiven as I wasn't exactly in the very front of the crowd when he got bonked.) But it was exhilirating, another of my favourites. I was grinning and laughing throughout!Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Land of the Big Word Factory

Theatre Anon


I had known before of this French kids story  in passing, when I was meeting up with some companions from scriptwriting course and perused the Maltese version of the story adapted by Clare Azzopardi, which she happened to have on her.  

So when I recognised it to be the same one done by these Maltese actors and musician, I was really pleased that it became part of the ZiguZajg programme this year.


Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
I watched it alongside school kids on their outing, who were very eager to interact with one of the actors, asking for 'silly words', which was a 'boring' word etc. With those kids that day though, once the actor got them started, it was harder for them to stop each time!

Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

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Their puppetry performance combined with simple tech and an ever changing backdrop was fascinating to the eye. The physical white backdrop, seamlessly made of multiple doors and windows, was well designed to be flexible for what was needed in every scene. 
 Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
The Phileas and Cibelle puppets were so lovable and the actors managed to convey their mannerisms very authentically. It was equally clever to have scenes where an actor stepping out of the backdrop interracted with a puppet projected alongside.

The children watching had expressed some concerns after the show for the actors' eating safety, as they thought it to be off and unhealthy for them to eat 'real' paper in order for them to speak. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

That's rice paper for you.
Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Circo Zoe


Circuses aren't unfamiliar to me. 

Back in Summer 2013 I took part as an extra of sorts during CirkuMalta's DariRari in the Malta Arts Festival and watched the performers work during late night rehearsals. The same circus team from that performance then came to Malta again for last year's ZiguZajg. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

To be clear, the circus performance of this year are NOT that same team, but from the Italian Circo Zoe. They had two different performances, and this one was pirate-themed. They seemed to have had their own DJ travelling with them, as there were turntables and other DJ equipment playing music at the entrance.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017


Each performer's 'pirate' character complimented and reflected their personal circus talents. They also provided their own music, accompanying say an acrobat with a violin or accordian number. Their individual capabilities didn't cease to surprise me every time. You could see how focused they were and yet still got everyone gasping at them pulling it off. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

The kids certainly laughed their heads off at one of the performers telling off his comrades in a kiddish scream, as he tried to instruct them how to fix up the pole for the following performance number in their repertoire.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

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Despite how physically depleted I was feeling close to the end of that week, their show sure got me hooked on every minute. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Ernesto and Bianca
Jacob Piccinino & Heloise Suire


This performance wasn't on any of my shifts, yet hoped everyday to be able to go watch my friend Jacob in his debut of the festival, and to take the opportunity to do so if the chance came my way . . .Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Therefore he was surprised when he opened the door of Palazzo de la Salle from the inside and found me standing there with Chrome book and pamphlets. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

I was able to find a loophole of sorts and asked Andre' the festival co-ordinator (and my temporary ''boss'') for possible switches in that day's events. And thankfully it paid off; not to sound big-headed but after that massively active week, it was well-deserved in a way - and I thank my 'boss' as he did me a favour, after I had been at a particular installation most of the festival . . .

The stories and people 
I've encountered there . . .

*snigger* -


Ernesto and Bianca stood out differently in style; a clowning performance. The male lead has an obsessive behaviour, comical routines all round and yet authentic in how it reflects those who behave this way in real life: rubbing the door knob clean before going out, putting the key in and out of his pocket as he counts up to seven or fourteen to be absolutely sure he's not locking himself out, placing a cloth over his keyboard at 'work' and rapidly hand-chopping with loud succession over the keyboard to clean it . . . to then quietly adjust his spelling mistakes on his computer. 

Then he encounters the love of his life, Bianca from next door adoring her plant from her balcony, as she waters each leaf that she names - Lulu, Kiki, Fabrizio . . .

Thus he's inspired and determined to overcome his 'disorder' to make himself worthy of her.


The plot, characters and overall story was adorable!!!

Quite clever how their invented language was a jumble up of other familiar languages, dashes of Spanish, French, Italian, English and Maltese. 'Minion language' if I can coin the phrase as such. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

You could recognise some of the languages combined in their sentences and still understand the scene. With a little vocal cameo from Arthur Dumas as Bianca's abusive husband. Most of the action and comedy naturally then did the talking. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

The adults loved it as much as the children, especially when the fourth wall was broken and Ernesto enthusiastically acknowledged them at being reminded to get the 'tea!' and 'gallettini!'. The kids savoured it in telling the characters what to do, and one kid had such a sharp ear for Bianca's signature jazz melody that when Ernesto came to sing it to her, the kid ended up finishing off that jazz melody for him by one note which got fits of laughter.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

And I closed off my final shift 
as assistant 
with that show 
and a tired smile. 

Though the festival had one more day for me to see as an audience member . . . 

Part 2 Right HERE!

Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Copyright © Diandra A. 2017