My essentials: Keith Barbara’s cultural picks

No 66 | Keith Barbara, 28, actor/director and ethics teacher

Keith Joseph Barbara along side Annelise Abela as Theseus and Hippolyta back in 2020
Keith Joseph Barbara along side Annelise Abela as Theseus and Hippolyta back in 2020

1. Book

I have read an extraordinary trilogy under the name of ‘His Dark Materials’ by Philip Pullman. It elegantly combines philosophy, science, and theology, which leaves you wondering if certain concepts are true. The story reminds us of our freedom and necessity to grow in knowledge and wisdom. It delves into the importance of recognising manipulation and challenging the limits that are set upon us. They are regarded as children’s books, which is brilliant; what’s better than teaching children how to defeat ignorance and blind faith?

2. Film

A wonderful favourite which I have rewatched recently is ‘The Little Prince’, based on the book ‘Le Petit Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It reminds us of the importance of being a child. A child is keen-eyed, curious, imaginative: in essence, always seeking the truth. When we become adults, we forget our beauty, we accept lies, we accept being pawns in other people’s games, we conform to systems; we forget who we truly are. This film (and book) reminds us: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes.”

3. Internet

Every Thursday, I make a morning appointment with a comedy trio called ‘Foil, Arms and Hog.’ They are an Irish troupe which produces comedic sketches, apart from conducting their own tours around the world. They provide a quirky insight into today’s agendas, instigating a fresh perspective to how we look at them. For instance: energy companies at a party, political ideologies choosing a pizza, and the inability to understand the acting profession. A bit of comical cynicism and quirkiness makes tea redundant in the morning!

4. Music

These two remain close to my heart: Evanescence and The Amazing Devil. They both write emotionally-raw, truthful and perceptive poetry, accompanied by music and singing which takes you on a journey with them. Evanescence’s darkness emulated in their first albums is reconciled with the recent realisation of how one should live freely, love themselves and give love to those who deserve it. The Amazing Devil take different roles: an old couple, a young couple, a parent, a child, a downtrodden, and others, and each song tells a story through their eyes. The beauty that these two radiate is unparalleled.

5. Place

Iceland has always fascinated me, yet never visited. Its remoteness, beauty and air of mystical mystery enchant me greatly. I have attempted to learn the language once, but never pursued it further. Having trekked on a few mountains and being fond of wintry weather, Iceland carries such elements which make me feel myself. However, I would also revisit Vienna and London, for their culture is unique and gives one an opportunity to express themselves freely and enjoy the gift of being yourself.