On the occasion of Malta`s 6th edition of ?igu?ajg, the International Arts Festival for children and young adults organized annually by Fondazzjoni Kreattività, China National Theatre for Children (CNTC) was invited to participate with 6 performances of the non-verbal drama “Three Monks”. The shows were successfully staged at City Theatre in Valletta over a three-day period, from 11 to 14 November, 2016, attracting an audience of up to 1500.
The integration of CNTC`s programme in this local International Arts Festival is one of the highlight events on CCC`s cultural calendar, as well as another landmark of success in CCC`s ongoing introduction of high-level artist groups, from China to Malta. “Three Monks” is one of CNTC’s copyrighted productions and exclusive cultural export for overseas audiences, performed in up to twelve countries over the past few years. The play is an entertaining rendition of a traditional Chinese tale with a contemporary twist, brought to life through the personas of “Monks”, whose likable characters and comic relations imbue the story with meaning and sentiment. Modern choreography, influence of traditional Chinese opera and elements of indigenous martial arts increase the appeal and effectiveness of the comprehensive theatrical presentation. The amusing scenes enable children to follow a moral lesson on the importance of helping one another, through explication of the notion that “the greatest strength is to be found in unity”, while also offering them an authentic taste of Chinese classical culture and philosophical instruction.
China National Theatre for Children placed great importance on their cultural visit to Malta, making a grand appearance with two winners of China`s leading drama-theatre awards “Plum Blossom Performance Prize”. The cute naughty monk, the frank chubby monk and the lanky studious monk all had the young audience in hysterics. Roaring laughter and shrills of delight echoed across the theatre, interspersed with resounding applause for the wise old monk`s disciplinary martial arts training. The performance pulled at the heart strings of all ages, evoking tears of jubilation as well as deep-felt emotion. The audience`s reciprocity swelled into a crescendo of rhythmic clapping during the curtain call, with some children even standing up on their seats to wave farewell to the actors. Others were reluctant to depart, stretching towards the stage to touch the props as they were led out by their parents; one little fellow was heard asking his mum when they would come again to watch “Three Monks”.
The expressions and comments of the audience reinstate the fact that performance arts have the power to overcome territorial, linguistic and cultural boundaries, and connect people across time and space.
Dr Toni Sant, Artistic Director of Fondazzjoni Kreattività, St James Cavalier attended the first show, voicing high praise for “Three Monks”. Dr Sant told the CNTC cast that it was a great pleasure to watch their superb presentation and an honour to invite them to Malta, bringing this memorable experience to a close with a group photo after the performance.
CNTC`s great success in Malta extends further, as the delegation came to an agreement with Fondazzjoni Kreattività to engage in professional collaboration and sharing of knowledge in various areas, including theatrical programmes, performing cast and administrative staff, forging yet another stepping stone to enhance performing arts, creative development and cultural exchange.
(Translated by Aida Daoud Bushra)