Once a year the MADC clubrooms become the welcoming host of the MADC One Act Play festival. Elena Stilon takes a look at this year’s edition of a festival that is particularly popular among theatre folk.
The MADC One Act Play Festival has always strived to help those interested in theatre to try out acting or directing and serve as a platform for their talents. Additionally, the performances are judged by a panel of select judges to award six prizes in different categories.
The festival opened with ‘Murder Play’ directed by Maria Somers. The friendship between two couples is tested when hosts play a nasty joke on their guests. However, as the play progresses it becomes clear that there is something much deeper and sinister than a simple prank brewing here. Steffi Thake was very strong in the part of ‘Jane’ as the vengeful wife, brought the cold heartedness and indifference of a potential killer to life. In fact she rightly walked away with the title of Best Actress. Even though at times the presence of certain characters could have been felt more and the dialogue tended to get a bit dry, Gianni Grioli and Marisa Aqulina managed give a good portrayal of a distraught couple unwillingly caught in the wife’s game of revenge. As for Jane’s poor unassuming husband portrayed by Antoine Saliba (nominated for Best Promising Actor), well we’ll never know for sure what happened, will we?
Now who doesn’t enjoy pranks? Once again, the joy and exhilaration that comes with pranking was presented to us through ‘April Groom’ directed by Martina Zammit. Here we meet a best friend who decided a harmless prank was what the bridegroom needed, before moving onto a life of marriage and commitment. The play also resulted in two wins of the night; that of Best Actor awarded to Jovan Pisani playing the part of the best friend turned prankster and of Best Promising Actor awarded to Kevin Naudi for playing the groom. On the whole, this was an enjoyable performance with a number of laughs here and there as the various twists of the story unfolded.
Everyone longs to know what their future holds for them, but up to what extent? ‘Nobody Famous’ directed by James Sultana brings forth two friends longing to achieve fame and fortune. Unfortunately everything seemed to go pear shaped after Brenda and Heather visit Madame Mooch, a local psychic. Brenda and Heather were given a believable portrayal by Robyn Vella and Diandra Anne Mamo respectively. Robyn Vella in particular shone and managed to bring out the relatable nature of the character. The play had its comic moments however at times they seemed slightly stale.
The cherry on the cake for the first evening was surely ‘Blind Date. Inc’ directed by David Chircop who was also rewarded the title of Runner Up for Best Director. This was surely the climax of the night. The cleverly set up stage with merely a black drop, screen and two tables and chairs helped to retain the attention on the enjoyable script and variety of characters as each actor had the opportunity to interpret multiple roles. Alba Florian Viton (nominated for the category of most promising Actress) was extremely memorable in two of the sketches as an older woman lusting over men called Ernest (pronounced Errrrnesst). Her portrayal brought each and every character to life. Maria Caruana, who also got nominated for Best Actress owned the stage during ‘The day the bunny cried” monologue. The cast had the audience in stitches at all times making the performance a great success.
‘Women and Wallace’, the dramatic play directed by Luke Farrugia was not the most straightforward of plays. The play chronicles the great impact Wallace’s mother’s suicide had on his life and relationships. Alexander Gatesy Lewis’s performance took us on a journey and he was in fact awarded a nomination. The rest of the cast had a bit of a harder time as they had to represent the different female characters flitting in and out of the stages of Wallace’s life. Yet in the end they were successful in translating the overall message of ‘Women and Wallace’, as it even went on to win “Best Production”.
Antonella Mifsud who played Wallace’s grandmother explains how this experience left quite an effect even though it wasn’t her first time acting. She points out that one of the most important ingredients in producing a successful show is the actual chemistry between the cast members. For both her and Maria Caruana from Blind Date Inc., the festival was a “positive learning experience” they won’t forget easily. Maria found that through this event she gained both theatrical experience and friends for life. On the other hand, Vikesh Godhwani, the director and scriptwriter of our next play explains how both writing and directing create a “great formula” in the creation of a show. He explains that to be able to write a good piece of work, he attempts to picture how it would actually look on stage.
Godhwani’s “Coco’s Fabulous Speed-Dating Soiree” was a perfect ending to the festival as it was a fast moving energised performance that told the story of an eclectic number of characters who have come to attend a speed- dating event in the hope of finding their soul mate, yet things do not go as planned. The play had nominations in all the award categories (Adela Silvestre and Magdalena Van Kuilenburg for Best Actress, Andre Agius for Best Actor, and Sean Borg for Mosy Promising Actor) and ended up walking away with 2 awards; Best Director to Vikesh Godhwani and Most Promising Actress which went to Janelle Caruana for her portrayal of the seemingly holy and innocent Christine. The female element in the play was definitely the strongest with the exception of the male character of Coco as interpreted with great gusto by Andre Agius. The play was also the runner up for best production as altogether it was a very polished performance making it a delight to watch and providing the audience with laughs and reminding us of the unforgettable experience the MADC One Act Play Festival brings with it.