The compelling theatre of conspiracy | Alan Montanaro

Actor Alan Montanaro speaks to us about his role in DnA theatre’s uncharacteristically sombre and politically urgent production: a staging of Kenneth N Ross’s ‘The Lockerbie Bomber’, which puts forward the theory that Abdelbaset al Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, was merely a convenient scapegoat in a far more complex story.

Alan Montanaro (left) and Alan Paris in The Lockerbie Bomber.
Alan Montanaro (left) and Alan Paris in The Lockerbie Bomber.

What was behind the decision to shift from comedy to drama? And why did you pick this particular play?

When we started DnA Theatre Productions we set out to provide a platform for creative expression and exploration while offering audiences a mix of cheers and chills, self reflection and analysis but, above all, enjoyment and entertainment. That's what our mission is, and so far we have always presented light comedies "with a soul". But with 'The Lockerbie Bomber', DnA enters the dark world of politics and opens a new chapter for the company.

We were approached with this play by director Herman Grech, who is a bit of a political animal and who had, as a journalist, run a few stories on Lockerbie tragedy. 2013 is the 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster and questions are still being asked as more facts of the case reveal themselves. Conspiracy theories are rife and in the words of my own character (an MI6 agent): "It will all come out in the wash eventually".

Do you think Maltese audiences are ready to experience a play - in the sense that, apart from any other art form, it's a 'live' representation of -  about the events of the Lockerbie tragedy?

We don't underestimate the intelligence of our Maltese audiences. The Malta connection  to the disaster (alleged connection, perhaps) will resonate with anybody who comes to watch this show because it really is close to home - and who doesn't like a good conspiracy theory, anyway?

How do you think the 'conspiracy theory' element will be received by local audience?

It's certainly fodder for discussion. You have to appreciate that this disaster happened during our lifetime, and most of us remember it well. The bomb on the Pan Am 103 flight allegedly set off from Malta and exploded over Lockerbie. Pan Am 103 was delayed by 20 minutes when it left for New York, and had it departed on schedule, it would have exploded over the ocean, leaving no clues at all. As it happened, the delay caused the bomb to explode over the sleepy town of Lockerbie and the meticulous search through the wreckage and debris which was spread over miles led investigators to a dark little shop in Tower Road, Sliema.

Apart from the conspiracy theory element, what made the play attractive to you as a company? Could you speak a bit about the way it is structured, and the genre it belongs to (or comes close to belonging to)?

'The Lockerbie Bomber' - with the inverted commas thoughtfully placed as they invite us to reevaluate who we are actually referring to - is a modern piece. The fact that we are performing this piece on the 25th anniversary of the disaster makes it very significant. The play presents six carefully developed characters with very defined roles: parents who lost a child in the disaster, two journalists determined to uncover the truth, and a CIA and MI6 agent scheming to make sure everyone sticks to the public version of events.

'The Lockerbie Bomber' will be staged at St James Cavalier, Valletta on November 1-3; 8-10 at 20:00. Tickets are at €15. Bookings: 21 223216, 21 223200; [email protected] or visit The play is rated 16.


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