”DRAGO deals with the fabrics of Maltese society” – Dr Mario Frendo
Drago is a theatre piece which deals with the fabrics of Maltese society by focusing on legendary Maltese professional snooker player Tony Drago. The performance is, however, not just a biography of Tony Drago, and what the audience experiences is not some superficial and superlative eulogy of a successful individual. Instead, Drago is a poetic reflection of a society that almost inevitably has to constantly deal with the isolation imposed on it geographically and the possibilities that exist if this isolation is overcome. In this sense, Drago is a rather profound reflection of what Toni bin Sina tal-Belt (the son of Sina from Valletta) goes through to become ‘Tornado Tony’ and reach the highest levels of quality in his sports profession.
These high levels are well reflected theatrically in the sequence where Peter Galea – who for almost 90 minutes, on his own, plays the part of Tony Drago – climbs on the snooker table and reaches for what the light design makes one think is the highest imaginable point in the world of Drago. Drago’s highs are however contrasted by the various challenges and fears that he faces. Like, for instance, when he has to deal with tax problems following shady manoeuvres by some of his managers and Toni calls his mother – the only shoulder he could cry on – for solace; or, in various sequences functioning as bridges between sections where Drago’s fear of flying is portrayed.
These constant contrasts between Tony Drago and Toni bin Sina tal-Belt are very well brought forward as a subtle underlaying narrative by Director Sean Buhagiar. They generate interesting tensions without ever imposing on the audience a superlative aura around Drago’s persona. Rather, what is provided throughout the performance is a poetic rendition of the negotiations that such tensions may trigger within any individual facing similar issues. In Drago, therefore, the game of snooker, of which Tony Drago is an international exponent, is but a metaphor of a Maltese society reflected, as it were, in the story of an individual.
Dr Mario Frendo
Senior lecturer, Department of Theatre Studies, School of Performing Arts
University of Malta