Carnival Qarċilla returns to Spazju Kreattiv

One of the best-loved carnival traditions is guaranteed to have the laughter rolling.

One might call it a Carnival street farce, or a play about a marriage contract in which everyone blurts out what comes to mind: the gifts the spouses will receive from their parents, their witnesses, their friends… as well as from certain persons of prominence and established bodies… all in rhyming verse. And the notary is in charge of documenting everything to make sure the affair is legally binding. All of this, of course, while satirising the political and social climate of the country.

Welcome to the Qarċilla, a tradition which goes back many years. Probably the most famous one was written by Dun Feliċ Demarco for the Carnival of 1760. It must be noted that this Qarċilla, aside from the political and social digs mentioned above, would also include many sexual innuendos and curse words. People participated wholeheartedly by shouting, singing, clapping, and sometimes even throwing things.

The Qarċilla was revived 10 years ago, in 2014, and then shown for the first time at the Spazju Kreattiv Theatre in 2022. It has been written by Trevor Żahra, Immanuel Mifsud, Leanne Ellul and Alex Vella Gregory, the latter of whom is once again in charge of writing this year’s edition. Joseph Galea will produce and direct.

The plot is simple as can be. Nothing softens the fierce heart of Korradino, a criminal so well-known that he even has his own personal cell, except for Rużann’s gaze. Every morning, he sees her from the terrace of his cell as she sunbathes on the terrace of her cell on the other side of the prison. Now, after years of fierce love, secret meetings, and inspired poetic writings, the time has come for them to seal their love in front of their fellow inmates.

With one phone call to his partner, the Notary Carmelo Caruana Carrotta, he will finally join Rużann as one. As a couple and a family, they qualify for the Ċella b’Żigarella scheme, entitling them to the penthouse with a pool inside the prison. But who will they invite? And what will they do about the gifts?

The Qarċilla takes place on February 8 at 8pm at Spazju Kreattiv.

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