The Jew of Malta at Teatru Manoel

Photo: Justin Mamo

Photo: Justin Mamo

The MADC and Teatru Manoel are joining forces to bring Christopher Marlowe’s classic play The Jew of Malta to the Maltese stage, opening on Friday, October 5 and running until October 14, with a special Notte Bianca Atmosphera performance on October 6.

The play is not performed often – and director Chris Gatt explains the reasoning behind the MADC and Teatru Manoel’s decision to stage it.

“Marlowe was Shakespeare's contemporary,” said Mr Gatt. “But, perhaps because he died young – murdered in a pub brawl – or because his compendium of works is so small, he is often overlooked.

Photo: Justin MamoPhoto: Justin Mamo

“This is a pity because Marlowe has a lot to say, particularly about society, corruption and the lengths to which people will go to obtain power. And perhaps this is why Marlowe is back in the limelight with his plays being performed more often. So, in essence, the combination of Marlowe and Malta seemed a natural choice.”

The Jew of Malta is a story of a man seeking revenge, which cascades into a series of ever more murderous events, with disastrous consequences. It is set in a Malta envisaged by Marlowe that audiences would not historically recognise. It is an alternate universe, one in which the Knights of Malta are paying a tribute to the Turkish Sultan Suleiman to stave off a potential attack from the Turks that the Knights would surely lose.

Yet its themes of corruption and hypocrisy in high places, racism against foreigners and minorities, and the dog-eat-dog attitude of its protagonists, is far too familiar. To this Marlowe adds religion, and the historical hatred between Christians, Jews, and Muslims is the excuse used for the political power game played out on stage.

“Marlowe understood this heady mix of power and religion,” added Mr Gatt, describing The Jew of Malta as a slick, acutely-observed, fast-paced slice of political drama.

“It feels fresh and as relevant today as it did 400 years ago, and it is a highly-entertaining, action-packed story, that will leave audiences breathless as it lurches from one disastrous event to the next, veering perilously between tragedy and high camp comedy.”

With a strong ensemble led by Mikhail Basmadjian, The Jew of Malta will be performed at Teatru Manoel on October 5, 6, 7 and 12, 13 and 14. All performances start at 8pm, except for the October 6 performance, which starts at 6pm, in conjunction with Notte Bianca Atmosphera.

Tickets are at €25, €20 and €10, with discounted tickets available for students and senior citizens. Bookings on 2124 6389 or the Teatru Manoel website. Classification 14+.

This project is supported by the Project Support Grant, Malta Arts Fund – Arts Council Malta

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