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No shrinking against the pale moonlight | The Shrinking Violets

Contrary to the implications of their name, newly-minted theatre troupe The Shrinking Violets will be taking the proverbial (undead) bull by the horns this season, as they launch with Ernest and the Pale Moon – the Oliver Lansley Fringe hit that’s a perfect fit for Halloween, as they tell Teodor Reljic

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
12 October 2017, 7:40am
The Shrinking Violets are (from left): Jo Caruana, Thomas Camilleri, Chris Galea and Chiara Hyzler. Photo by Emma Micallef
The Shrinking Violets are (from left): Jo Caruana, Thomas Camilleri, Chris Galea and Chiara Hyzler. Photo by Emma Micallef
What’s the story behind The Shrinking Violets? Given that you’re not the only new Maltese theatre company on the block, do you think the current cultural atmosphere is amenable to it?

We are a group of five women who all come from a theatrical and/or musical background. We value each other as professionals in our respective fields and share a similar work ethic and cultural ethos. 

We felt it would be nice to work together as a collective sharing and exchanging roles depending on the production. 

"As a nation we are still struggling to view arts performance as a valid career option in itself"
It’s obviously a busy time for theatre and culture in Malta with 2018 soon approaching but we believe that choice of script and the standard of work will set us apart as strong players in the local market. The name is ironic of course as we are all big advocators of women playing prime roles in the arts sector. 

 

Thomas Camilleri takes on the titular role in Ernest and the Pale Moon
Thomas Camilleri takes on the titular role in Ernest and the Pale Moon
What does the gathering of theatre practitioners behind The Shrinking Violets have in common, and what kind of hopes and ambitions –collective or otherwise -- do you all have for the company? 

We all bring different skills to the table based on our strengths – from directing, acting, music to marketing and production. Beyond this we want to work in a collaborative way with other talented professionals in the industry. 

Luke Saydon has composed an original score for this piece for example, and we have Moritz Zavan collaborating with Late Interactive on lights design.

We hope that the company will be recognised for excellence and that the work will excite and enthral its audiences. 

 

You have chosen Ernest and the Pale Moon as your inaugural production. What appeals to you about this production, and does it set the tone for the kind of work that company will aim to put up in future?

Ernest and the Pale Moon is a piece written by the playwright Oliver Lansely -  who also forms one part of the theatre company Les Enfants Terribles who came to Malta last year to do some student workshops. We like the narrative style and strong emphasis on story-telling, as well as the creative ensemble work in the piece. The gothic style of the piece appealed to us and we are delighted to put the production on across Halloween. 

"The standard of performance is good and the talent is certainly here"
The piece doesn’t necessarily set the tone of future work in terms of content; however the ensemble-focused and collaborative nature is indicative of how we like to work as a team. Good quality scripts will hopefully be the common denominator for the company’s choice of repertoire.

 

What do you make of the local theatrical scene? What would you change about it? 

The local theatrical scene has moved from strength to strength as we are now reaping the benefits of performing arts schools’ students and more funding opportunities for new work, education and export of work. 

The standard of performance is good and the talent is certainly here; however as a nation we are still struggling to view arts performance as a valid career option in itself. This is reflected in the arts sector economy of scale; more specifically in pay rates terms and the vast number of jobs and skills people who are independently working the industry need to encompass to survive.

 

The Shrinking Violets are comprised of Chris Galea, Jo Caruana, Thomas Camilleri, Chiara Hyzler and Denise Mulholland. Ernest and the Pale Moon will be staged at Palazzo De La Salle, Valletta, on 27-29 October and 3-5 November at 8pm. the play is directed by Denise Mulholland. Bookings: http://ticketline.com.mt/

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
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