PALK MALTI KONTEMPORANJU
Early assessment - or
The two and a half hour meeting did
not in fact even mention LoggiaPalk at all. Instead the debate ran more or less
on, once again, why Maltese drama does not seem to top anybody's agenda.
(barring that of some playwrights). Two topics seem to me to
have been worth lingering on: a, the initial comment by Alfred
Buttigieg (new to Manoel Theatre management) concerning the necessity of
better marketing Maltese plays, and, b, the appropriateness or not of
channeling some effort, and I assume funding, towards resuscitating the
practically extinct art of radioplay broadcasting (championed by Tony
Alas, the debate about
marketing did not seem to mature much. I believe it was by far the
most obvious point to develop, but once I brought up for consideration the
specific funding and expertise needed to accomplish this, a stone wall
seemed to arise and block further discussion. Instead it was dropped
back into the laps of the hapless actors, producers, authors, et al
who were told (more or less) they should skip to it and go out there and drag people in to
see their plays... The concept of a professional (like?) approach and
appropriate funding was dropped like a veritable hot-potato.
Instead attention was turned to the suggestion (albeit with equal short shrift) that one should perhaps reconsider the resuscitation of radio plays. All this in the name of the grand crusade "to enhance the value of the Maltese spoken language now so bastardized by the local media" (my quotes - but one gets the gist). Myself a product of the radio play culture of the fifties and sixties I more than appreciate the value of this medium. I truly love it. Yet I believe it would be a grave mistake not to recognize the signs of the times. If radio plays have been dropped from local media it is for a good reason. The now limited and fragmented audience of our radio stations makes them "profitable" no longer. Gone are the thousands and thousands of listeners of the golden years of Rediffusion. And if some fifty years of radio play listening leave us today still decrying the fact we need to "educate" (how I hate that word) the Maltese people to love (sic) their native language, I do not see how putting on a couple more plays in the present media-barraged environment is going to "educate" anybody.
This red-herring must die. Be done
with. Scavenging even one-pennies worth from the often lamentable poor
funding of the live-staging of new Maltese plays would be a crime. Put
that money into marketing, rather.
Alas, our cultural cringe syndrome persists.
But one must persevere. The "new" Manoel theatre policy regarding Maltese
drama has survived one year. Let's not start dragging our feet already.
Focus on the marketing. Drop dead weights like the Francis Ebejer
Competition. The king is dead. Accept it. Focus on strategy on how to
garnish the effort of new playwrights. Seek new blood. Proclaiming "we need
a new Francis Ebejer" with one breathe and claiming "Maltese theatre does
not need prophets (viz: writers)" with the next, is a reflection of the utter
chaos and insincerity which still prevails.
INIDIĊI TA' L-ARKIVJU