Whether you agree or disagree with abortion, its discussion has spread like wildfire across the islands and the political sphere. Some argue it is a fundamental right of every woman and should have a choice, while others think the life of the unborn supersedes choice and our laws should stay as they are.
Herman Grech, a local director and writer, has been involved in the theatre scene for over 25 years now, and has directed plays including The Lockerbie Bomber, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and Lampedusa. He is now launching a new performance at Spazju Kreattiv which speaks of abortion.
De-terminated will be premiered next October, and it speaks of frustration, intolerance and harsh judgements surrounding abortions.
“This play is based on a series of interviews I carried out in 2017 with people who somewhat went through the abortion experience, or else hold a strong opinion about the subject,” Grech said. “This is not a pro-choice or anti-abortion play, but I wanted to show the intolerance, the fear and the cacophony eclipsing the abortion issue in Malta,” he added. “We may choose to ignore the topic but you can’t say it isn’t happening.”
“I’m aware I’m dealing with a contentious social issue in Maltese society so I was extremely sensitive with the script,” he said.
De-terminated plays out as a series of narratives, and as Grech explained, some of the interviews allowed people a platform to speak about their experiences for the first time.
“From the girl who was violently raped by her partner and went through the subsequent abortion process on her own, to the man who was sexually abused as a child, and went on to force his partner to have an abortion, a decision which has tortured his soul since,” he said.
“My main goal was to strip the play of any fiction and only include experiences. You can’t disagree with an experience. You may not like it or approve of it, but you can’t say it didn’t happen,” Herman said.
The performance hopes to be unconventional and thought-provoking.
“I just hate the fact that the Maltese seem incapable of discussing social and political issues without screaming or insulting each other.”
Grech feels that this performance will help people understand each other more when it comes to carrying out a discussion. “We often refuse to lend an ear, let alone try to understand the other side of the story. I believe that with most issues, there are shades of grey, even if the rhetoric doesn’t tie in with our beliefs.”
Grech’s aim with this play is to help people understand one another better, to create empathy in both sides. “I wish that it sets people on both sides of the abortion debate to really consider the concerns of the other side and tap into our critical thinking,” he said.
Jo Caruana, Jes Camilleri, Charlotte Grech, Alan Paris, Marta Vella and Isabel Warrington will be starring in this theatrical performance.
The play is a co-production of Spazju Kreattiv and is supported by the Malta Arts Fund. It will be performed from the 19th till the 21st and the 26th till the 28th of October at the Spazju Kreattiv Theatre.