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Silent dance of the shadow puppets

In the “city of shadows”, a young woman will embark on a journey to find herself next weekend.

Her story will be told in Metamorpolis: A Journey to my Other Half – a remarkable fusion of shadow theatre, projections and live music produced by a multi-national team of artists and musicians.

To be staged in the intimate space of Splendid, Valletta, next Friday to Sunday, audiences will meet a central shadow puppet character who feels lost and bored in life.

Realising something is missing, she sets out to find her true self, evolving as she travels through six fantastical cities of dreams and fantasy.

Throughout her adventure she discovers new aspects of herself, and takes them with her on the next stage of her journey.

Shadow theatre is something of an unknown in Malta, but Spanish artistic director and co-writer Patri Toral thinks it has much to offer audiences.

“It is very spiritual, very close to the soul,” she said.

She thinks the dark, storied space of Splendid is perfect for staging the production and her German co-writer Arndt Kremer agrees.

“Valletta is the city of shadows in many ways and the venue reflects that,” he said.

The original idea for the production came from Ms Toral, but it is very much a collaborative effort from an international team.

They have been preparing for months in a Birkirkara living room, which was transformed into a rehearsal stage.

The music – integral to the wordless story – was composed by Ms Toral’s Maltese flatmate Chris Bonello, who heads musical project Rasadance.

It is performed by Mr Bonello and Japanese duo Miro Sakamoto and Shintaro Hishioka.

Mr Bonello is also in charge of animation, while the mind-blowing scenery illustrations are the work of Sergio Gauci, known as Stone Pecker.

Mr Kremer, Ms Toral and Mr Gauci also made the puppets and will be controlling them from behind the screen.

“It’s very challenging to get the mechanics right,” said Mr Kremer, who has acted on stage many times but is a novice at shadow theatre.

Yet it works – this complex emotional tale is told through powerful music and movement.

The three-night production is about more than just the shadow puppet theatre, however.

It will begin with a live jamming session and there will be DJs playing after the 30-minute theatre performance. The intricate illustrations by Mr Gauchi will also be exhibited after the show.

Having created the show on a shoestring budget, the team are hoping to take it overseas to Spain and maybe even Japan... now that would be a fantastical journey.

Metamorpolis: A Journey to my Other Half will be performed at Splendid, Strait Street, Valletta, from December 7 to 9 at 9pm. Tickets priced at €7 can be bought from Tico Tico in Valletta, Gochi in St Julian’s and Why Not? in St Julians. E-mail: [email protected].

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