"Currently waiting by the wings for my cue . . . in the meantime I'm in a period of daily learning, through occasional artistic encounters, while humbly keeping Socrates' instruction in mind to 'know thyself'."
I don't consider myself a critic, hence this isn't a review. I find critiquing a theatre production half takes away the enjoyment of watching a performance, and this little factor took some time to brush off after a few projects and presentations for Theatre Studies back at Uni.
Besides, where there's need to think, it comes by itself. So . . .
Recalling this solely
through the eyes
of an audience member
and theatre lover-practitioner.
We passed the gates of Fort St Elmo, striding through a stone passage leading to the Pjazza t'Armir.
First sight of immortal antiquity,
specially in link to the Knights of Malta
really captivates me,
and seeing it
set and used
for a theatrical performance
emplified this ageless-ness even further.
Four massive pseudo-crates on wheels were aligned in front of the natural backdrop of the pjazza, a church's facade. Two women dressed in WW2 army uniforms gave us what looked like an old newspaper, the front page dated 1st September 1943. A piece of history in our hands, cleverly recreated to be the program and containing the cast/production bios for Faith, Hope u Charity.
with well-reputed Irish pilot William 'Timber' Woods (true person in history)
and yet drawn to Francesco Cavalli, Italian soldier
made prisoner-of-war when he lands by parachute
in her grandmother's garden.
We're also drawn to the subplot of a family of farmers, providing some humour to the play and as much humanity in joy and suffering as in Marija's social circle and surroundings. Their scenes were my personal favourite; one scene always cracks a smile as I remember the father chastising his mischievous son:
Jekk taqa' minn hemm fuq u tmut, noqtlok!
(If you fall from up there and die, I'll kill you!)
Karmen Azzopardi clearly was a worthy narrator, a joy to watch such a veteran for the first time, considering her ten year absence from the stage.
She doesn't have that squirmishness that is normally expected from an upper class figure, conversing with the housemaid and farmer family as equals, sharing in condolences and sympathies at the father's death,
as well as, when talking to Marija later on, cheekily enquiring on her first kiss.
Not afraid to speak her mind, even in the tiniest hints of dislike.
The Contessa-grandmother is a strong character; the playwright made her an ambassador, rightly so, clarifying to the colonial authority, when she's taken in for questioning that the Maltese's identity is not to be seen as barbaric.
An ambassador to also remind her fellow citizens that charity tops over any form of persecution, love tramples hate, and no class difference should cause anyone to forget virtue over their current obstacles.
The most heart-warming of the whole play, the strongest in my opinion, was the ending lines from older Marija;
the fabric that she used to create the baptismal dress, that had gone down from her children to the youngest descendent, was from the same parachute that landed Italian soldier Cavalli into her garden.
The playwright had a symbolism and intent in mind,
I really do hope they consider publishing the play's script into a book. It would be worth holding a copy and keep it right next to Francis Ebejer's Il-Gahan ta' Bingemma. Second reason being to finally learn the possible symbolism behind the use of Cavalli's parachute as a baptismal dress . . . I somehow can't shake off this un-enlightened intuition.