Abortion takes centre-stage in Maltese theatre

Malta’s biggest taboo – abortion – will take centre-stage in a new play, which exposes a reality often played out behind the scenes.

The cast of De-terminated
The cast of De-terminated

Malta’s biggest taboo – abortion – will take centre stage in a new play, which exposes a reality often played out behind the scenes.

‘De-terminated’ is gleaned from a series of interviews carried out in 2017 with women and men (all Maltese nationals bar one) who went through the abortion experience as well as activists on both side of the debate.

Malta has the strictest abortion laws in the world and the termination of a pregnancy remains illegal under any circumstances.

“As much as we pretend it’s not happening, many Maltese women and men are faced with the dilemma. I wanted to see if abortion could ever be discussed without hysteria,” author and director Herman Grech says.

The characters in the play weave out the intolerance, fear and frustration where it comes to abortion in Malta.

The stories range from a girl who explains why she chose to have an abortion after she was violently raped, to the man who forced his partner to terminate her pregnancy and is nowadays an anti-abortion advocate.

“I insisted on getting characters from both sides of the spectrum because of the extreme narrative choking out any semblance of a debate on abortion in Malta. How many times do we hear people screaming at each other knowing they aren’t armed with even the basic facts?,” Grech said.

The author chose a narrative/documentary perspective style of theatre for a subject which has never been tackled in detail on a Maltese stage.

“You might choose to disagree with someone’s views/the way someone dealt with the issue – but you can’t say it didn’t happen.”

The one-act play features six of Malta’s finest actors – Alan Paris, Isabel Warrington, Charlotte Grech, Marta Vella, Jes Camilleri and Jo Caruana.

A Spazju Kreattiv co-production and supported by the Malta Arts Fund, De-terminated will be staged on October 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28. Booking from http://www.kreattivita.org/en/event/de-terminated/.

Certified 15, the play will be accompanied by a sound installation by Yasmin Kuymizakis.