The Malta Independent 16 June 2019, Sunday

Acting is make-belief that mirrors reality

Friday, 11 January 2019, 16:00 Last update: about 5 months ago

Simone Debattista

‘Drama is simply performing lines on stage or in front of a camera’ seems to be a common belief. If you think so, it’s time to take a closer look. Being an actor requires long hours of work and sacrifices.

Acting is my passion because it gives me the opportunity to perform different characters. It is a business of make-belief.  In a Maltarti programme on TVM Veteran actor Manuel Cauchi said that “performers must strip off their real character and wear the role they are interpreting”.


You may well ask: what is my experience of drama. I played myriad roles in TV series among them Pupi,   Kristu tal-Kerrejja, Xhud, Salib it-Toroq, Tereża and many more as TV series. As regards the theatre, I portrayed characters in Francis Ebejer’s masterpieces: Il-Ħaddfuq il-Bejt and Meta Morna tal-Mellieħa, Divorzju bi Prova by Lino Grech, and Mentior cum Amori which was an EU-funded project performed in France with a play by Christabel Catania and recently The Lover by Herold Pinter among others.

Scene from the performance The Lover by Harold Pinter, performed at Drama Centre; Translated in Maltese and directed by Jane Zammit; Actors: Sandro Vella, Simone DeBattista and Joseph Pace

It is well-nigh impossible to jot down all my drama experiences, but one which I can never forget was the filming of Pupi in 2006. This was a 26-episode drama based on the year 1919 and the 1950s. I was pregnant with my second child on my first day of filming and spent six months in that condition during long hours of filming, donning winter clothes in warm temperatures that characterise Malta’s summers.

It was a long way to come this far. As happens in other disciplines, aiming high is the main target. I never gave up despite the brick walls I had to overcome, with people putting me in the crosshairs for not being a good mother due to these drama commitments.

Scene from the drama Pupi which was screened on Net TV; Directed by Charles Stroud; Actors: Ivan De Battista and Simone De Battista 

I kept on studying to enhance my knowledge of the theatre at The Drama Centre and Pinnacle among other courses. Having attained a Diploma with Trinity College London, now I can also lecture drama. I’m lucky because my husband Ivan happens to be in the same line of entertainment, so he can understand the moods, the frustrations and at times the disappointments this endeavour brings in its wake.

For an actor, appreciation is like manna from heaven. Simple words from members of the public such as “I’m feeling better, because you keep me company when I am alone,” or “drama adds colour to my life” empower actors to keep going.


Simone De Battista is an actress and a second-year university student studying diploma in journalism

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