ALBERT MARSHALL ON NINU CREMONA & ĠUŻE DIACONO
Ninu Cremona”, also known as “Is-Sur Nin”, is considered as one of the Maltese literary giants and a main builder of the Maltese identity. Cremona has works in all types of literature: philology, grammar, folklore, poetry, short stories, history and theater.
“Il-Fidwa tal-Bdiewa” (1936) is a Maltese literary jewel, and is historically important as it is the first serious literary drama in Maltese. The drama’s prologue is considered by critics as “a piece of beautiful art, in which the language is written well and with care, and the idea is strong and original”. (Ġużè Chetcuti)
Oliver Friġġieri and Ġużè Diacono are amongst the critics who commented on “il-Fidwa”. In his study, Diacono does not agree with the idea that the drama is a “pastoral epic”. He prefers to refer to it as “dramatic poem” more than a “poetic drama”. Anyways, this text deserves a celebration through a fresh interpretative treatment held by the company Teatru Nazzjonali. This is not only to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of Cremona’s death, but also to breath new life in one of the most beautiful literary works that have been ever written in Maltese language.
Commissioning this production is a meaningful act of substantial cultural and theatrical importance from Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjonijiet Nazzjonali to Teatru Malta. Ġużè Diacono: writer, journalist, critic and playwright – Diacono, together with Ġużè Chetcuti, he is a prominent figure when it comes to Maltese theatrical neorealism. I had the honor of working closely with him during the adaptation and direction of “Il-Madonna taċ-Ċoqqa” for television. In a non-typical mood, Diacono, wrote the mystical drama, “L-Għarusa” (1964), a unique work of visionary nun. I recall the talented actress Karmen Azzopardi interpreting this role in a brilliant manner. Diacono’s curious work’s rich subtext makes references to elements of religious fanaticism, suppressed eroticism, and mental weakness that problematise the nun’s character with a skill like no other. It is a pity that this short drama of Diacono never received the attention it deserves.
It is precisely for this reason that this production, entrusted by Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjonijiet Nazzjonali to Teatru Malta, could be deemed as an important event to commemorate his 20th death anniversary.