The Malta Independent 14 November 2019, Thursday

Ruben Zahra unravels the secrets behind the controversial Min Hi?

Sunday, 20 October 2019, 11:00 Last update: about 25 days ago

The Malta Independent sit down with director and composer Ruben Zahra to unravel the secrets behind the controversial upcoming Teatru Malta production Min Hi? Here he tells us more about his ideas, the concept behind the show and what audiences can expect to see this October and November.

How did the Min Hi? project come to be?

The idea came to mind about 14 years ago while I was at a theatre festival in Besançon, France. The street shows that made the news over the past few weeks all in fact form part of one full performance. Trevor Zahra, the show's writer, and myself spent about a year developing and going over this text together to make sure it truly reflected the narratives of the characters being  represented throughout. The result was a collage of monologues by twelve different characters, all women, some from the bible, others from mythology and literature. If you think about it, we're saying this is a one-woman show but it is in-fact a 12-woman show performed by one-woman, our lead actress: Lee-N Abela.

ADVERTISEMENT

 

What would you say is the intention behind this macabre theatrical portrayal?

I've always been fascinated by the relationship between the beautiful and the macabre; grotesque representations through which beauty is conveyed through art. This was something common of sacred art, paintings of saints and martyrs depicting macabre and violent scenes in the most sublime of manners. So my jumping off point, when conceiving the fibre of this production wasn't it's narrative but more so it's aesthetic. Audiences can expect to see, fetuses in glass jars, a pig's head, strands of long jet black hair, a dripping wet chandelier, marionettes and a ceiling adorned with hanging prosthetic legs and arms. These elements are all integral parts of each scene, some of which audiences have already caught glimpses of in our street shows.

 

Speaking of the street shows, can you elaborate on what happened exactly?

Well, we presented three different scenes: one with Lee-N crushing and bashing dolls and snails, one where she cradles a pig's head and the other with her on the rocking chair under the dripping wet chandelier; all in different localities around Malta, specifically Haz-Zebbug, Marsaxlokk, Sliema, Gudja, Valletta and Vittoriosa. Each scene is tied to the final performance happening in Bormla between the 31st of October and the 3rd of November. In each street show, the actress wore a white mask and was performing a sequence of bizarre scenes on a loop without uttering a word. However during the show at the Rialto, her mask will be coming off and she will definitely be speaking.

 

The Rialto really isn't a conventional location for a show like this, what lead you to make this decision?

Sean Buhagiar and I scouted a number of different venues before settling on the Rialto. Like everything, it was all about finding the right fit, because as I said I was very committed to the aesthetic being the driving force behind Min Hi? So finding the right space was a very integral ingredient in all of this. The conventional just wouldn't do. The Rialto Cinema in Bormla, had enormous potential and since the venue is rarely used it gave off the eerie and dilapidated look we were searching for, complementing the show's narrative to a tee. That's when I knew we had found our venue and so here we are today, rehearsing in anticipation of the big show this Halloween.


Min Hi? Is written by Trevor Zahra,  directed & composed by Ruben Zahra, and is a one woman show starring Lee-N Abela with live singing by Maltese soprano Nadia Vella. Seating for Min Hi? is limited and the production will premiere on Halloween night and runs between the 31st of October and the 3rd of November for 4 chilling nights only.

To book your €15/€12 tickets for Min Hi? visit kultura.mt or visit teatrumalta.org.mt for more information.


  • don't miss