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Stitching being performed at Manoel

Play had been banned 10 years ago

The play will feature the original cast: Pia Zammit and Mikhail Basmadjian. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

The play will feature the original cast: Pia Zammit and Mikhail Basmadjian. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

A play controversially banned in Malta 10 years ago will be staged at the Manoel Theatre this week and next.

Anthony Neilson’s play Stitching will be performed at the Manuel Theatre studio theatre from Friday.

The play will be directed by Chris Gatt and performed by Pia Zammit and Mikhail Basmadjian, as originally planned. The play had been censored by the now defunct Film and Classification Board in 2008 on grounds that it was “blasphemous and insulting to Auschwitz victims”. The decision had been controversially confirmed by the Maltese courts in 2010.

The Maltese court had said it was unacceptable in a democratic society founded on the rule of law for any person to be allowed to swear in public, even in a theatre as part of a script. The court had pointed out that the country’s values could not be turned upside down in the name of freedom of expression.

It had ignored the producers’ arguments that the play about a couple coming to terms with the loss of a child had been taken out of context and requested to perform it in court on grounds that a script is a work of art that is only half-formed, and needs actors to give it meaning.

The producers, Unifaun Productions Ltd, took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, which overturned the decision.

Stitching is being staged at the Manuel Theatre studio theatre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and again on September 19, September 21 and September 23 at 9pm.

Tickets may be obtained from the Manoel Theatre box office on telephone number 2124 6389 or from www.teatrumanoel.com.mt.

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