Puppets come to life in two spectacular shows at Teatru Manoel

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This year Theatre Anon is celebrating the 30th anniversary since it was founded, and to mark this milestone, Teatru Manoel will be restaging two of their best productions – Daqsxejn ta’ Requiem lil Leli and The Little Prince – between the 15th and 18th of February.

Theatre Anon was set up back in 1994, and the strength behind their projects is the fun element they offer and the promise of a unique and delightful experience for the audience. Whilst treating subject matters that are worlds apart, one thing that these two productions have in common is the use of human-sized puppets.

Daqsxejn ta’ Requim lil Leli

Daqsxejn ta’ Requim lil Leli, a poem written by Immanuel Mifsud, has been transformed into a theatrical piece with puppetry, animation, and live music. Leli reflects on life as he feels himself approaching his last breath. He embarks on a nostalgic journey through his memories of the good days, the better days, but also the sad and lonely days. Mifsud adds that this is not a mournful requiem but one that has the power to elicit deep emotions.

Immanuel Mifsud reflects on his writing style… one filled with mixed emotions that draws the readers into a meditative state. His writing skills, evolving from his romantic nature, move the reader. He believes that people, men in particular, are able to disguise their inner feelings. Therefore, Mifsud’s poetry seeks to challenge this and encourages the freedom and release of emotions.

Director Paul Portelli explains how he was instantly captivated by the music that Kris Spiteri composed for the work. He goes on to say that as Kris and Immanuel asked him to direct this work for The Arts Festival back in 2018, he accepted immediately. They approached visual artist Vince Briffa to create all the visuals and admits that the creative process to combine music, poetry and visuals was truly exciting.

Paul explains how the life-sized puppet that represents Leli, is a creation that the audience can totally relate to, as he portrays the main aspects of a human life, dreams, happiness, and sadness.

When composing the music for this production, Kris Spiteri wanted to create a balance between the sounds and the visuals that were being portrayed on stage. Through his music, he describes musically the sea, the mother, a hospital room, and the train in Cierny Balog, but at the same time he composed his interpretation of the Isle of the Dead and the amalgamation of life and death in the main themes.

The Little Prince

Theatre Anon together with Teatru Manoel will also be presenting The Little Prince, that was originally created for ŻiguŻajg Arts Festival for Children and Young People three years ago.

Liliana Portelli, one of the cast members of The Little Prince and founding member of Theatre Anon explains that this production is based on the book with the same name, written by Antoine de Sant-Exupery. This story takes the readers on a journey to a planet where a little prince lives on his own. This prince decides to leave this planet and embarks on a journey where he meets with many particular and interesting characters from different planets… until he arrives on planet Earth. Liliana further explains how the prince then meets a pilot and the two get lost in conversation about universal themes of love, friendship and solitude.

Portelli highlights how the main character will enchant the younger audiences but will also capture the hearts of adults. It is quite spectacular to see a life-sized puppet, brought to ‘life’ by two actors who quite magically animate him to reflect real human gestures, making the audience forget that they’re watching a puppet and not a living person.

She also mentions that the scenery for this production, designed and created by Francesca Grech, is based on illustrations from the original book. Bringing all these elements harmoniously together is Albert Garzia’s soundscape that was created specifically for this work and which he will be performing live.

Daqsxejn ta’ Requim li Leli will be performed in Maltese with English surtitles at Teatru Manoel, on the 15th of February at 8pm, Saturday 17th at 8pm, and Sunday 18th at 7pm. The Little Prince will be performed in English on Friday the 16th of February at 8pm, Saturday the 17th at 3pm, and Sunday the 18th at 3pm at Teatru Manoel.

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