Stories in Whispers, by the emerging company Other Dance Theatre (ODT), premiered on the 3rd of February at the Valletta Campus Theatre. The performance included three different pieces that, as the title suggests, tell stories in an indirect way, leaving plenty of space to enjoy the experience and to use our imagination.
While the audience was taking their place, one could already notice Florinda Camilleri engaged in an “overture” of sorts which led to the beginning of her solo. This first piece, titled Minn taħt l-Ilsien and choreographed by Lucia Piquero, injected the night with a burst of energy which remained palpable throughout the performance. All that was present on stage was a wooden chair and the dancer’s body. This minimalistic approach only helped to enhance and bring to life the palette of emotions that she went through during the choreography. Another interesting aspect was the interdependent relationship between the voice-over by Ruth Borg and the movement. For those in the audience that could understand the text in Maltese it was possible to recognise gestures that were directly related to the words, which immersed the audience further into the experience of the performance.
The second piece of the night was a whole other story compared to the first. Rather than energy and dynamic movement, the theatre was darkened leaving the audience with just a soundscape showcasing a typical Maltese environment. Although some people left the performance at this point, it is so rare in this day and age to let go of the fast and busy outside environment that surrounds us. Here, through the sound design created by Niels Plotard and the smoke calmly travelling the space, the audience could merely close their eyes and immerse themselves in the world and truly listen to the stories being told by it.
The final piece of the program was a choreography by Lucia Piquero to four pieces of music by different Palestinian artists. The three dancers – Zoe Camilleri, Valentine Soucy and Florinda Camilleri – moving together and interacting with each other in a way that show both dance skill and emotion, triggers thought about the country itself. The piece highlights a concern about this country that transcends artistic expression and effectively seeks to create awareness. A concern that is reflected both in the dancing and the program notes given to the audience, was for the spectators to kindly consider making a donation to Medical Aid Palestine.
Stories in Whispers is an invitation to observe and think through the experience created by the choreography and sound. It is about perceiving through movement and about listening to what we may ignore in our daily life. It is a performance that reminds us that although we have ears, we might not always listen.