10 . 01 . 20

A Vision for 20/20 – A note from Sean Buhagiar

It’s 2020 and this year we present you the perfect vision. I am joking. As a matter of fact, it seems many brands might market a perfect vision this year. It’s a no brainer, albeit an incorrect gimmick. Vision 20/20 in fact speaks about visual acuity – sharpness of vision – which is only a part of a human being’s ability to see. Basically visual acuity only defines how sharp you can see objects at twenty feet away. Plato pronounced vision as the noblest of the senses because of a lot more. Clearly, the vision we want to talk about here is not simply a plan, or a calendar. It is the ability to see beyond the tip of your nose, far beyond what meets the eye; it is the power to imagine beyond your wildest dreams; the prowess to shift the status quo. It is definitely not “perfect”. WIlliam Turner was colour-blind, Da Vinci had intermittent exotropia, John Milton went blind before he wrote Paradise Lost. So we’re just really happy to have a vision, and a dog. 

The dog you see on the cover and the back of this programme is in fact a Pharaoh Hound, a Kelb tal-Fenek. It is the national dog of Malta, indigenous to the island. The breed is over 2,000 years old. It is the only dog in the world that blushes. Quite aptly, being a sighthound, the Pharaoh Hound has a keen sense of vision. Our trademark logo is based on a model paper mask of this dog. 

Now, like all dogs, we generally want to be your friend and we want to go out with you a lot. That is why we are moving on to present our programme every four months of the year. That way we believe we can be more flexible, more urgent and our work can feel closer to our audiences. In these pages you will read of our plans for the first third of 2020. We will then be having regular events, complots and strategies for you to get to know what we’re up to for the rest of the year. If you know us, you know that we always have your best interest in mind. Just like dogs. So check out the productions coming soon to a theatre near you (that sounds so much better when heard in a bass voice), but do check out the work that catalyses change and provokes discussion in the local theatre world like XENI and Taħdita Teatru. Like dogs, we need you to stay alert. Basically we’re all dogs here. 

This is only the fourth year of Teatru Malta’s existence and it’s our third year of programming. There is an old aphorism which reads that if you give a woodsman six hours to chop a tree, he would spend the first four sharpening the axe. Well, if we are to go by that, at Teatru Malta we are still sharpening. Truth be told, we actually want to keep sharpening and never chop the tree. Too many are being chopped or burnt already around the world right now. 

The point is that this current programme is about continuously sharpening our vision. We brought you quality work which is relevant, in all sorts of places. You could see and enjoy us anywhere, everywhere and where you least expected us; a Pigeon Homing club, the Xwejni Salt Pans, the Mdina ditch, the Rialto Cinema but even in more standard places like his highness, the Manoel Theatre. We wanted to create generous work which finds quality in the honesty of the process, like Ħax-Xjuħ and Trikki Trakki. Collaborative work which pushes the boundaries of local story-telling like VII and the Panto in the Dark. Ambitious work that challenges young audiences like Larinġa Mekkanika and Il-Qtates ta’ max-Xatt. A lot of this work is being further developed amongst other new audacious work. But most of this is so 2019. 

What about 2020? What is the vision? Ask the dog.