A quick glance around any group of people will show you how connected they are. A million notifications a minute light up any event – sharing pictures, videos, thoughts and news. We’re connected, certainly, but are any of us actually connecting to that content – and to the thousands of global lives we touch up every single day?
New play DripFeed by local creative youth organisation Studio 18 was written through a partnership with British playwright Rebecca Brewer, and it seeks to answer exactly that question. Created for both young adult and adult audiences, it highlights how it is not uncommon that – among all this hyper-connectivity – we have become alarmingly apathetic and, ironically, disconnected. Together, co-directors Jean-Marc Cafà and Andre Agius knew they wanted to create something that appealed to the Insta-savvy generation but also a piece that felt fresh and exciting from whatever viewpoint.
“We decided to start a movement, a shock to the system intended to snap you back into what was once reality,” explains Agius Cafà, who is also the creative director of Studio 18. “As a team, we like to create, to find relevance, and to ‘feed’. So, for this project, we began with fairy tales, and explored their universality and their messages; they provide something for everyone.
“Then, as we often do when creating work, we had our team before we had our script, and, collectively, we elicited what we needed to say. Finding a playwright who was willing to experiment and had knowledge of the industry was crucial, and Rebecca fit the bill perfectly. Together we have landed a satire that questions the impact of our choices.”
The result is a cut-throat and dystopian play that is all about its viewer – our habits, what we do, what we consume and, critically, the decisions we think we’re taking. It is a social commentary on the industrial mind frame we are all in. The piece certainly provides a mirror, and what we see in it may prove shocking.
“The play focuses on the concept that everything comes down to the fact that people want money, and that those who have money will get even more money because they know how to; it’s a vicious cycle,” says Agius, who recently graduated with a BA (Hons) in Theatre Studies at the University of Malta.
This new play is a shock to the system intended to snap you back into what was once reality
“I feel that the piece provides audiences with enough information for them to make their own conclusions about who they are as characters, their roles and how that is relative to real life.” But while the topic may be quite heavy going, the piece is a lot of fun – and very funny. The cast is made up of 12 performers who were also all involved in the creative process. Brewer, meanwhile, solidified the script to ensure it is fresh and witty, and hits where it hurts.
“It’s been quite a learning curve for us all,” Agius Cafà continues, explaining that, at the start, it was challenging to relinquish control and to work with another director. “But I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The vibrancy of our relationship has been a blessing and we have been very in synch throughout the creative process. Rebecca has also been very open and on-call. It’s rare to find three creatives that vibe off each other so effortlessly.”
Now the piece is ready to welcome its debut audiences. They should expect a modern fairy tale that makes clear there is a wolf hiding around every corner, but questions whether you will ever know if it is not in sheep’s clothing.
“Buckle up and get ready for this topsy-turvy ride; all the twists and turns will seem uncomfortable yet familiar,” Agius adds.
“Get ready to be shocked by the bleak reality that you’ve numbed yourself to, and make sure you’re not still sipping on your Kool-aid by the end of it.”
DripFeed (15+) will be performed in the Tunnel of the Montekristo Estate Vaults between Thursday and Sunday. For tickets and more information visit firstname.lastname@example.org.