”Something as important as any election” words by Alex Vella Gregory

Last Saturday I attended something as important as any election – the 5th edition of Trikki Trakki Children’s Theatre Festival, produced by Teatru Malta under the direction of Antonella Axisa.

I was lucky to work with two directors who put up two short plays with these children: Nicole Cuschieri and Joseph Galea. Nicole did a version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth with the Bishop’s Conservatory in Gozo. In this version, Macbeth is the loyal General to Duncan ‘King of the Greens’, until one day he meets three witches who offer him a burger with nutritionally devastating consequences. Joseph work with the St Gorg Preca Middle School in Ħamrun. They looked at the work of the Stage Commandos and explored the importance of theatre in times of war and pandemics.

I enjoyed all the performances thoroughly, but I was mostly struck by these children’s honesty. I enjoyed watching them explore realities in a mature but direct manner: the pandemic, the future, the climate crisis, etc.

I was struck by one production in particular, ‘The Story of My Future’ by the students of the St Theresa College Middle School, Birkirkara, under the direction of Malcolm Galea. In a few words: a migrant family settles in Malta, and despite all the hardship and racism, they manage to build a new life here. But in order to do so, their daughter had to sacrifice her dream of becoming a model, and become a doctor instead – for no-one wanted to believe in her or give her the opportunity, including her teachers and friends.

I admit I was moved. I had heard those words plenty of times when I was a boy, every one of them. ‘Music? What are you going to do with music? You are an intelligent boy, don’t waste your life! Become a doctor or a teacher, not a musician!’ Maybe because I was lucky enough to face that challenge without the added burden of racism, or maybe because I did find a few who supported me even when they did not understand me….or maybe because I am stubborn and did not give up.

Whatever the answer….thank you to all of you who took part for reminding me that your fears and your dreams are precious. Yes, even your fears, for you are often able to see things that we often accept passively. Now, if I may, I will ask you one thing…don’t become like us, become something better!