On the shadow trail… | Metamorpolis

The team behind a unique shadow puppet performance speak to us about what we can expect from 'Metamorpolis', playing at Splendid, Strait Street, Valletta on Friday and Saturday.

An international team of performers and artists will be teaming up for the shadow puppet performance this weekend.
An international team of performers and artists will be teaming up for the shadow puppet performance this weekend.

An international group of artists and performers will be introducing Malta to the ancient art of shadow puppet theatre on December 7 and 8, with a conceptually playful show entitled Metamorpolis: A Journey to My Other Half playing at 'Splendid', 74, Strait Street Valletta.

A team composed of 'mechanical artist' and puppeteer Patricia Toral (Spain), writer and academic Arndt Kremer (Germany), musician Chris Bonello (Maltese-German), sculptor Sergio Gauci (Malta), and Japanese musicians Miro Sakamoto and Shintaro Hishioka have banded together to create a mini-spectacle whose starting point stems from an exploration of the perennial team of transformation, meshed together with the dynamic of urban spaces.  

"Metamorpolis is an amalgamate of two words: 'metamorphosis' and 'metropolis'. 'Metamorphosis' indicates the process of transformation, alteration, mutation, change. 'Polis' is the oldest and generic name given to the cities, in our case, taken to describe different scenarios and cities for which our protagonist goes through on her way

for her personal quest," the team explain.

"Metamorpolis portrays the extraordinary experience which our main character will endure throughout her journey. She feels lost, sad and bored in her daily life, when one fine day an opportunity of change is presented to her. Thanks to this new chance, she begins an exhaustive search to find herself in hope to feel complete. She feels determined and bravely accepts her fate while going through various transformations during her quest in the different cities she visits.

"The six fantasy cities - the mechanical, the surreal, the sea, the sky - are locations of dream, fantasy and life. Our heroine evolves and mutates in every city she visits, by adapting to her surroundings in order to achieve her goal."

More concretely, the team are looking forward to using the evocative venue of the Splendid - "a cultural centre in Strait Street" - to tell this universal story, as they believe the setting  itself lends a welcome edge.

"The Splendid is a place of character linked to many old stories - as it is often the case in Valletta, this sleeping beauty. At least to those of us who are not Maltese, this venue shows a typical image of Valletta beyond the touristic main streets. It is not one of these fancy places, on the contrary: The age of the house, its degeneration, is inscribed in the walls and, so far, no gold and glitter covers it. However, that is part of its charm and makes the atmosphere so appealing."

While hoping that the Maltese audience will be captivated by this show of 'teatru tad-dell' ("something that may seem 'new' but that is actually an ancient form of art"), the team have said that Valletta itself may easily serve as a jumping off point for future shadow puppet performances because the capital city "is indeed a city of shadows, dancing at night under dim and gloomy lantern lights..."

Metamorpolis: A Journey to My Other Half will be playing at Splendid, 74, Strait Street, Valletta on December 7 and 8 at 20:30. Tickets at €7 can be bought from Gochi and Why Not? (both at St Julian's) or Tico Tico, Valletta. For more information, email [email protected] or look for the event on Facebook.