A comeback for live theatre: Agnes of God, by John Pielmeier

Live theatre is making a comeback with Agnes of God by John Pielmeier directed by Tyrone Grima 

Photo, illustration by Deacon Xuereb
Photo, illustration by Deacon Xuereb

Live theatre is making a comeback. Early in December, Dr Christian Colombo and Dr Tyrone Grima will be presenting a classic by John Pielmeier, the play “Agnes of God”, featuring actresses Isabel Warrington, Simone Ellul and Kyra Lautier.

“Agnes of God” is directed by Tyrone Grima and tells the tale of a cloistered novice (Kyra Lautier) who gives birth to a baby and is accused of slaughtering it. A psychiatrist (Simone Ellul) is appointed to diagnose the mental health of the nun. Agnes is naive and does not know anything about the facts of life, though not the same thing can be said about Mother Superior (Isabel Warrington) who seems to be harbouring darker secrets. It is a gripping and fast-paced thriller that narrates the story of a woman who explores her humanity, surrounded by an eerie sense of mysticism. It raises the fundamental questions surrounding existentialism, religion and faith without providing clear, straightforward answers and solutions.

 Kyra Lautier as Agnes, Photo Francesca Vella
Kyra Lautier as Agnes, Photo Francesca Vella

It is in fact this element which encouraged Tyrone and Christian to produce this specific play together. The play opens up a number of questions and dilemmas, and provokes thought without imposing opinions on the audience. The two producers have a different approach to religion and faith, and whilst Tyrone’s interest in the subject is nurtured by his belief in religion, Christian is the chairperson of the Malta Humanist Association which espouses an atheistic world-view. Following the live performances of “Agnes of God”, a webinar will be organised on the 8th and 10th of December at 18:00 in order to explore this subject further. Speakers include Gail Debono, Dr Pauline Dimech, Prof Vicky Ann Cremona and Rev. Dr Carlo Calleja.

Simone Ellul as the psychiatrist Photo by Francesca Vella and Deacon Xuereb
Simone Ellul as the psychiatrist Photo by Francesca Vella and Deacon Xuereb

In a year which has proven to be highly challenging for the arts, particularly live performances, producers Tyrone and Christian took the plunge, but not without taking all the necessary precautions in line with the current measures in place. The play will be performed at the Valletta Campus Theatre in Valletta, to a very limited audience per performance. Measures implemented include fresh air ventilation system in the theatre, cleaning and sanitisation of seats and restrooms, staggered entrances and exits, obligatory use of masks, social distancing between audience members and from the cast and contact tracing.

Actress Isabel Warrington, Photo Francesca Vella
Actress Isabel Warrington, Photo Francesca Vella

Agnes of God will be performed on the 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 December at 19:30 at the Valletta Campus Theatre, Valletta. Following the performances, a webinar focusing on psychology, ethics and religion will be organised on the 8th at 10th December at 18:00. “Agnes of God” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. www.concordtheatricals.com. Supported by the University of Malta, School of Performing Arts. For more information or to book your place contact Tyrone Grima on [email protected]

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