Publisher: Agius & Agius Ltd
No. Of Pages: 44
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The play provides a constant shifting in time, space and viewpoint between a historical event, the Rising of the Priests in 1775 under Grandmaster Ximenes de Texada and its enactment on stage by a company of Maltese seminarians exactly 20 years later. The play within the play is directed by the Rector of the Seminary, who is soon revealed as a propagandist for Grandmaster De Rohan whose allegedly kindly and enlightened rule the Rector wishes to contrast with the despotic rule of Ximenes and of Pinto, his predecessor. Unfortunately for the Rector, his students have different ideas. They come out with lines he never wrote into the script; they insult Bishop Labini (a historical character) who has come to see the play and they refuse to perform the climactic scene of the rising, for they say it will only commemorate the cowardice of so many Maltese and so demoralise the present generation. Who were the contemporary targets in the play? Most probably it was the Common Man. The main attack on them came from the mouth of a foreigner, the Italian Bishop of Malta Labini who interrupts the play within the play and predicts to Mannarino, on the eve of his uprising, that he will be deserted by his fellow countrymen, who, he said, can easily be bribed away and are content to be governed by foreigners.