The Malta Independent 28 June 2022, Tuesday

A giraffe has escaped from Castille

Sunday, 15 May 2022, 09:31 Last update: about 3 months ago

Well, technically it's not true but I did get your attention. Spazju Kreattiv's next theatre commission is one you should not miss and it's about more than just a giraffe. Penned by Aleks Farrugia and directed by Daniel Azzopardi, this play will make you laugh with its comedic timing but also wince at how critical it is of our current societal situation.

The premise is simple - the Prime Minister sends the Minister of Foreign Affairs to recover a looted object, taken from our land around 250 years ago only to bring back a rather large problem. That said, not everything goes on as planned. From this point on, strange and unbelievable events begin to happen. What was meant to be a political triumph became an utter PR disaster. A race to find the devil giraffe that has been terrorising the streets of Valletta - it even stole a handbag. The Police Corp gets confused and the Prime Minister comes up with an ingenious idea.

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Farrugia doesn't quite know where the idea of incorporating this majestic animal came from, in fact the Prime Minister does refer to it as a nuisance, but it has long been said by many scientists, philosophers and writers that this animal is a beautiful sight. But, if I tell you that the giraffe is disguised as something, would you believe me?

"My purpose was to go beyond the current circumstances and to deal with what is structural in the society in which we live. That which has been with us since time immemorial will remain so until we change the foundations of this society," Farrugia states. "And, no matter how people go about it, we all have our fingers in the pot - from the top politician to the smallest voter who elected them, with state institutions and the media included - no one gets rid of it that easily." Until the problem is pushed so far, memories of it become collective amnesia.

With his writing, Farrugia created this world (very close to home) in which the actors can experiment and play. With interpretations from Peter Galea, Marjann Attard, Anthony Ellul, Karl Schembri, Jacob Piccinio, Charlotte Formosa and Miguel Formosa, these characters come to life in more ways than one.

Azzopardi, directing this formidable cast, approached Farrugia to write this new play after reading his newest publication Għall-Glorja tal-Patrija!, intrigued by his humoristic and skit in how he managed to create a series of stories that shed light on the evolution of Malta's society. "In all this nonsense, the audience will have in front of them a mirror of the world we live in with elements that may surprise and even confuse some," says Azzopardi. This parallel universe reflects what is happening around us - a society that craves news and that sometimes creates its own assumptions without much thought. "Thus the manipulation of the event is the main premise of this production which looks at the mechanisms of politics and the media and how they may have various interests when and how they convey their message. Because even the 'truth' can have many interpretations and implications."

Experimentation was also key in this production since the theatre of the absurd allows for such, but I can't say much about that because I'll spoil the fun. All I can say is that it's designed dynamically together with the production team and the brilliant cast.

'Ġiraffa Ħarbet minn Kastilja' premiered last Friday, but fear not, you can still catch it next weekend with shows from Thursday, 19 to Sunday, 22 May. Tickets can be purchased from www.kreattivita.org


Photos: Elisa von Brockdorff


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