Benjamin Abela and Brendon Thearle, in collaboration with Spazju Kreattiv, announce their upcoming original play, Nostrum.
Set in Malta in the near future, Nostrum follows 28-year-old budding musician Shawn as he starts consuming Vexatel – a new type of medication that will make him forget his recently deceased girlfriend, Katrina. Throughout this weeks-long process, Shawn meets Steff, an employee working for the company producing Vexatel. As she administers his medication, the two discover an unsavoury truth about Katrina’s demise.
Nostrum explores the events leading up to Shawn’s decision to start the treatment, the secrets Steff is hiding from her patient, and how Shawn’s unlikely friendship with Steff alters his view on grief. The play, performed in Maltese and English, tackles an array of issues and themes relevant to the Maltese Islands, such as mental health, grief, and psychological support. In light of this, local mental health NGO Richmond Foundation has been closely involved throughout the project’s developmental process to ensure that such sensitive topics are being dealt with in a responsible manner.
This run of Nostrum, directed by Benjamin Abela and Brendon Thearle and written by Benjamin Abela, features performances from Aidan Aquilina (playing Shawn), Sarah Amato (playing Steff), and Luana Farrugia (playing Katrina).
“Maltese society tends to be overwhelmingly conservative in how it deals with grief. With Nostrum, we seek to shine a spotlight on exactly that, whilst showing that celebrating the lives of our deceased loved ones, as opposed to mourning them in silence, may be a healthier course of action,” says writer and co-director Benjamin Abela.
“This project is very dear to me; not only from a professional aspect, but also from a personal one. Grief and loss are universal experiences that feed well into Nostrum’s story, and having such talented young artists bring this text to life on stage is bound to be an unforgettable experience for myself and the rest of the project’s creative team,” adds co-director Brendon Thearle.
The play will be staged at the Spazju Kreattiv Theatre, Valletta on November 3 and 4 at 8pm, and on November 5 at 7pm. The opening performance will be followed by a brief panel discussion about the project and its corresponding themes.