„Malta and it’s Guests” –
an Austrian view on Maltese tourism
A group of Austrian visitors, who have been researching Maltese culture in the last year in the framework of a European Grundtvig Learning Partnership, was performing at the Malta Drama Centre end of March this year.
After having been exposed to the Maltese language, Maltese food and customs in 2006 the group developed Forum theatre scenes on their findings. Directed by Regina Schreiber, an experienced Forum theatre specialist, who actually trained with Augusto Boal himself some years ago, the Austrian amateur actors and actresses performed their scenes first in German.
In order to allow the audience to become spect-actors as requested by Boal’s Forum theatre, the scenes were then performed again in English by students of the Malta Drama Centre. The scenes were introduced and explained by a “tandem”-joker – two members of the Austrian group, acting as allies of the spect-actors, asking critical questions and motivating the audience to step down onto the stage and telling – in this sense it rather means showing – the others, what they think could alter or better the situation.
In the first scene the situation of two young people in love was displayed, asking the audience, whether being young and in love is still a difficult situation in Malta. From the perspective of the Austrians it seemed like that, however Maltese members of the audience changed that impression to an image of very strong-minded women, who are able and willing to stand up and defend their children’ feelings against a rather stubborn husband and father.
The second scene dealt with the battle between traditional Maltese and tourism managers, leaving the tourist caught between them, feeling very uneasy. The Austrian group members told, that they had that experience while being in Malta the year before. In the eyes of the audience, the tourist – even though being the victim in the scene – is not the problem. The actual problem lies between the traditionalist and the tourism radical.
Both scenes were captured on video and will be part of a common DVD, which actually will be the final product of this Grundtvig Learning Partnership called “C’you – C’me: Looking both ways”. The DVD will be presented to larger audiences at the “Intercultural Week 2007: EU visiting Bruck/Leitha”, a small town about 35 kilometres from Vienna, Austria, from 7-10 June 2007. Embedded in an exhibition on the benefits of being a citizen of the EU – people can watch the DVD of the 5 performances will give an impression, how our cultures are perceived by others and what we can learn from that.