Today, I had the privilege of not only seeing Opening Doors’ annual show from the seats of the beautiful Teatru Salesjan, but from the wings as the excitement is fed from performer to audience. The showcase consisted of work from each of the Opening Doors groups – dance, music and theatre, alongside the Ensemble’s work, entitled ‘The Secret’, that will tour to Leeds this summer.
The night opened with the musicians of Opening Doors performing layered drum rhythms that then split into solos from each artist. The range of personal styles flourished through the short solo moment and showed the variety of melodies that can be accomplished with just one instrument.
The actors/actresses worked around a scene at a Street Tombola and mixed comedy and drama. They showcased their talent by even including singing, proving that even though the performers are enacting one art form that they have a lot to offer. The music choices got the audience up and singing along.
Around a table as a prop, the piece explored different scenarios that could happen around it. Dinner, operations and so on as the dance changed from romantic to eerie. Once again we see the diversity in the performers as they changed how they acted depending on the scenario presented in the piece.
From a spectator’s perspective you can see the adventurous play with technology and people, as a screen blends the backdrop world to the living reality on stage with interactions, moving images and music. This feature allowed the setting of a survivor from a plane crash to come to life, by seeing it happen, yet keeping the creative alternative world by being in a more cartoon form as if we stepped into another reality.
The piece managed to blend all three disciplines effectively in the story through the use of the memory of a character. The past or potential future would be shown in a dance adding to the romantism lying beneath the plot. The musicians were always ‘on stage’, visible to the audience. Their work paralleled action on stage and created musical motifs for key moments in the plot or characters. The artistic choices blended known Maltese songs with more oriental notes as the piece went from the known to the creative land of opportunity.
Set up as an orchestra made up of; drums, piano, violin, chimes, and a rain tube, they worked in response to what was happening on stage. Using voice as a cue in one section, the musicians’ timing altered the movement on stage. They were even included in the action by breaking the 4th wall between stage and orchestra, with performers interacting as a transition between scenes, or musicians moving up to the front of the stage.
The strongest moment for me was during the business scene- where drum beats are layered and voice stops all movement and percussion. The energy of the multiple rhythms carried the frantic movement on stage.
With a few main characters, we saw how they evolved through the three acts. They not only interacted with each other, but the other performers and screen. My favourite moment ended up being one scene which was being performed for the first time in front of a large audience. The actor called out into the ‘nothingness’ saying “is anyone here?” to which he had a large response- followed by his next line “no one is here”. The moment was pure comedy – the actor was able to switch the meaning of the line to suit what was being asked for in the moment.
Swapping between hippies, an angry population and romantic duets, the dancers had the most quick changes and dealt with them like absolute professionals. Replicating Prince and Rose as a duet was magical as we saw the connection between the dancers as they were linked to one another in body and mind throughout their piece. They became one person to show the love in the story, and we saw two dancers together instead of fighting for a spotlight moment. would not have been possible without the support of:
Leaders: Luke Baldacchino. Rachel Calleja, Andrea Grancini, Jacob Piccinino
Assistants: Ilona Baldacchino, Martina Buhagiar, Benji Cachia, Dorienne Catania, Estelle Farrugia, Maria Elena Farrugia, Eszter Joo, Michael Vella Zarb, Mariele Zammit
Makeup: Jackie Muscat, Joanna Portelli
Lights: Douglas Comley, James Spiteri
Sound: Winston Galea
Ensemble Director: Carol Brown
Ensemble Music Composition: Luke Baldacchino
Artistic Director: Sandra Mifsud