"We feel energized to make decisive but ongoing responses to the realities that weigh heavily upon the citizens of the world in our localities." Final Message of MMXXIII General Chapter
At the Carmelite Priory we are committed to dialogue with contemporary culture inorder to share the Christian and Carmelite cultural and spiritual heritage. To reach this aim the Priory hosts a series of events, like fora, drama, concerts, exhibitions, etc… While being faithful to our own contemplative charism we are also committed to promote a culture of justice and welcome to all people of good will.
“For he who sings praise, does not only praise, but also praises joyfully; he who sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him whom he is singing about/to/for. There is a praise-filled public proclamation in the praise of someone who is confessing/acknowledging God, in the song of the lover there is love.”
(Saint Augustine, Enarratio in Psalmum 72, 1)
Theatrencore staged Jean-Paul Sartre’s Bariona in the first weekend of December 2010 under the direction of Tyrone Grima. The play was being timed as a warm-up to Christmas but offered an alternative form of entertainment for those who desire something more engaging than a traditional Nativity play. Bariona is Sartre’s first play, a work that does not sit comfortably with the rest of his works as here his atheism grapples with the element of hope that is born with the coming of Christ, and touches upon the mystery of humanity. In this play, which is a Christmas play for believers and non-believers, the spotlight turns away from narrating the events that see Christ coming into the world. Rather, the central characters are ordinary people, struggling with their human existence, and reacting to the news of the birth of the Messiah. Bariona, the village chief, loses all hope for a more prosperous future and condemns his people to their own extermination as his own wife announces her first pregnancy. Against this despair, an angel brings them news of the birth of Christ. This news becomes the lifeline for villagers who are prepared to perpetuate life against all odds, and for parents who continue to want to bring children into the world. The context serves to provide for a source of hope amid circumstances that refer to the most desperate. Sartre wrote this play during his time as a prisoner of war in 1940 and it was originally performed by himself together with his fellow inmates. The lack of freedom implicit in his situation is echoed in the play by references of oppressive rule by the Romans at the time of the birth of Christ. Within this, the protagonist, played by Philip Leone Ganado, is isolated in his search for inner truth such that he is able to grow to reach spiritual and philosophical heights. Freedom becomes an internal process, rather than one determined by external social circumstances. The theme of the relationship between entrapment and hope is central to the play, and it is in this light that the play remains a relevant piece of theatre to us in the 21st century – one that is relevant to Christians and non-Christians alike. Theatrencore’s production engages with these themes through the text giving it a form that is ritualistic and symbolical. The set in particular was used to heighten the effect of the oppression. Theatrencore collaborated with the Carmelite Institute in Mdina for an event designed particularly to engage students of philosophy, psychology, theology, spirituality and the arts, although all students are welcome. This included an adapted version of the play together with a seminar focusing on the theme of vision. The seminar was chaired by Fr Charlò Camilleri and speakers include Fr Rene Camilleri, Angele Licari and Caldon Mercieca.
The Bear and A Jubilee
Nonsuch Players in conjunction with Rotaract Club Malta La Valette and the Carmelite Priory Mdina, presented by Anton Chekov, The Bear and A Jubilee on the 5, 6 and 7 November 2010. All proceeds went to Rotaract’s Sven Mifsud Trust and The Equal Partners Foundation. The Bear, which is a classic one-act play written in 1900, is about a widowed woman. Regarded as a comedy, this work reveals the fine line between anger and passion. Unbelievable actions and change in mood on the part of the characters show that love can sometimes come from an odd turn of events. A Jubilee is set in Russia in the late 19th century, before the rise of Communism and the Russian revolution. The action takes place in the chairman’s office of the Mutual Credit Society, who is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its establishment. Two ladies come into the bank and independently get in the way of the day’s events. Nonsuch Players is a Malta-based drama group formed in October 2003 by Sue Fletcher with the aim of offering one-act plays in English while raising money for charity organisations. Nonsuch Players’ first performance was in November of 2003 with the play Shakespeare in a Garden. The role of the Equal Partners Foundation is to be in partnership with individuals with disabilities, their families and the community and to promote and facilitate informed personal choices and meaningful lives.
Appraisal of the Arts
One of the projects forming part of the extensive restoration works, that were carried out at the Carmelite Priory in Mdina over the last three years, was the high altar-painting of the Annunciation of the Virgin and its reredos. Both works were entrusted to ReCoop. The reredos was designed by Pietro Paolo Troisi in 1712 and sculpted in wood by Ignazio Portelli in 1717. The painting, which measures 316 × 266 cm., was executed by the renowned Maltese artist Stefano Erardi in his bottega in Valletta some time before 1677. Mario Buhagiar and Stanley Fiorini, in their book Mdina, the Cathedral City of Malta (1996), describe it as “one of the great masterpieces of Maltese art of the seventeenth century.” The painting was the focus of an event that was held in the Carmelite Church, Mdina, on Monday, 22nd March 2010. Baroque art expert Dr Keith Sciberras, Senior Lecturer at the University of Malta, gave an artistic appraisal of the painting, while restorer Roderick Abela highlighted the restoration process of the painting. Rev Dr Charlò Camilleri O.Carm., Director of the Carmelite Insitute Malta and Lecturer at the Univeristy of Malta, discussed the painting from a theological viewpoint.