If you’re a fan of culture and the arts, Malta is basically going to turn into a pick and mix sweet shop for you over the next three weeks. The annual Malta International Arts Festival (MIAF) is back for 17 days full of live performances and cultural events form Malta and around the world.
Malta International Arts Festival featured on MaltArti #MIAF2019
Posted by Malta International Arts Festival on Wednesday, June 19, 2019
From a play about a female Pope to a band that plays their music underwater, the MIAF 2019 has got it all
And amongst all these crazy performances, a contemporary opera by British company ERRATICA will be setting up camp at the Valletta Campus Theatre for one night only. But this is no usual opera; Toujours et Près de Moi?, which is a phrase that translates to ‘Always and Near to Me?’ is performed partially by holograms.
Yes, holograms as in virtual projections of people that move around the space like actual humans.
As five singers perform unique classical music a cappella, two actors move around a table that shows projected holograms of their past selves – which the actors themselves cannot see, and yet they perform alongside each other in a complex choreography that tells a moving story.
Toujours makes use of a 19th century theatrical illusion known as a Pepper’s Ghost
Pepper’s ghost is an illusion technique used in the theatre, amusement parks, museums, television, and concerts. The basic trick involves a stage that is specially arranged into two rooms, one that people can see into or the stage as a whole, and a second that is hidden to the side, the “blue room”. A plate of glass is placed somewhere in the main room at an angle that reflects the view of the blue room towards the audience.
So having holograms on stage sounds very futuristic, but it’s actually been around since like 1862. This technique was used by Digital Domain for the appearance of Tupac Shakur onstage with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg at Coachella Music in 2012 and Michael Jackson at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.
“The subject matter was suggested by the form: holograms are like ghosts, and ghosts are about the past haunting the present, so I wanted to make a piece about two people whose past is made manifest in front of them,” said ERRATICA director Patrick Eakin Young.
“It’s about a couple who are magically able to look back at their relationship – they experience the pain and trauma from their past all over again, but are able, in the end, to find some kind of reconciliation because of it. Sadness, trauma, loss – these experiences never truly leave us but, in facing them, we can find a way to connect and continue.”
Toujours et Près de Moi? will be performed by ERRATICA at 9pm on Friday 5 July, at Valletta Campus Theatre (ex MITP), St Paul Street, Valletta, and you can get your tickets and check out the full MIAF programme here.