25 April 2019
Laura Bonnici chats with Glitter Punch Petra Sant to find out why she’s excited to add her vision to this critically-acclaimed coming-of-age drama.
“Can there possibly be something right in something very wrong? Is everything black and white or are there grey areas? Are our actions a product of circumstance or is the circumstance the product of our actions?”
As the director of the upcoming Malta debut of Lucy Burke’s gritty drama Glitter Punch, Petra Sant hopes that these are the questions local audiences might be asking themselves after the show, as others have done following the critically-acclaimed London performances of the play.
Pushing the boundaries of conventional romance, Burke’s award-winning drama tells the story of college student Molly, who hopes to overcome her troubled upbringing when she meets John, who is grieving his father’s death and, like Molly, yearning for a connection. The two begin a difficult relationship, starting a journey of forbidden love that challenges modern ideas regarding age, consent and power imbalances in relationships, while questioning how far someone might be prepared to go for those they love.
“Molly has a home life that’s far from ideal. She believes she’s nothing special and doesn’t have much to look forward to in life. Then John arrives and changes everything; he becomes a ray of sunshine in her otherwise-bleak existence,” explains Petra. “Molly and John need each other for different reasons, but it’s interesting to see them move from wanting to be around each other to genuinely needing each other.
“But what I believe makes Glitter Punch so compelling is the idea that, amid life’s very low moments, there are others of beauty and solace that make it all seem bearable.”
Having enjoyed rave reviews during its run at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as part of London’s 2018 Vault Festival – where it won a coveted People’s Choice Award – Glitter Punch is now set to be staged by Masquerade at the Blue Box Theatre for three shows, featuring local performers Gianni Selvaggi and Monique Dimech Genuis.
“Gianni and Monique are great to work with,” Petra points out. “They complement each other very well and bring lots of energy and ideas to the rehearsal room. They have worked on developing their own version of Molly and John’s story that is honest, beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. The rehearsal process has been very enjoyable – full of discussion, discovery, creativity and laughs – oh so many laughs!”
Although Petra’s busy schedule for the rest of the year includes further teaching at the school, directing Masquerade’s Junior Company 2019 production, and working towards the launch of Masquerade’s Youth Theatre, she wants to ensure that Malta’s first production of Glitter Punch packs the proverbial punch the play deserves.
“Beyond a ‘glitter punch’, I believe the play delivers quite a ‘sucker punch’ – and my challenge lies in finding the balance between the ‘glitter’ and the ‘punch’ of the piece,” she shares. “The love between Molly and John is beautiful and light but there is also a dark side to it. I don’t want to spoon-feed the audience, but I want to give them enough information so that they can decide whether the glitter outweighs the punch, or the punch dulls the glitter. In the end, I leave that up to them.”
There will be only three performances of Glitter Punch on Friday and Saturday at 8pm and next Sunday and (April 28) at 6pm, at the Blue Box Theatre, M Space, Oscar Zammit Street, Msida. The production is suitable for audiences aged 16 and over. Tickets start at €10 and are available online at https://bluebox.azurewebsites.net/ or by calling the ticket hotline on 7979 3737.