The Moon Looks Delicious From Here – September 2023 Drama Factory

When: September 15, 16 and 17, 2023 at The Drama Factory in the Strand
Written and performed by: Aldo Brincat
Directed by: Sjaka Septembir
Age advisory: PG 13
Duration: 70 minutes  

How do we process our pasts as we navigate our present realities in this complex country of ours? We are shaped by our families and choices made – and not made. How do we distill memories to grasp onto the past as we try and make sense of our space right now? Aldo Brincat’s The Moon Looks Delicious From Here, is a tender and beautifully poignant portrait of a family in its magic and complexities. The solo play is on from tomorrow – at The Drama Factory – September 15 and then on September 16 and 17, 2023. I urge people to go and watch – or rather become immersed – in this intriguing piece of theatre. There is magic in the show – as in magic – as in illusion and tricks. Brincat’s father was a famous magician in Durban. He went by the stage name of Mabrini the Magician. Brincat’s father gifted him the family heirloom- Chinese magic linking rings. These rings were passed down from Brincat’s grandfather, to his father, then to Brincat. Magic is the leitmotif which is braided – metaphorically and physically (Brincat performs magic – ahh- wondrous – how does he do that?) into the bricolage which weaves together strands of Brincat’s family. His parents made their home in South Africa and all – far away from their birth countries.

As Brincat revealed to me in an interview, his father and my grandfather were both born in Alexandria, Egypt, from Maltese heritage. “My father immigrated to South Africa in the early 50s, as did my mother. My mother’s family fled the impending independence of Mauritius. She was born in Mauritius. My parents met in Durban. My older brother and I were born in Durban.”

It is interesting to consider what people take with them when they leave their home country and find refuge in another country. What do you take with you as you leave? If you had to pack right now, what would you take with you?  Brincat’s dad, Mabrini the Magician dazzled audiences in stage and juggled this with his day job as a chef and canteen manager for a ship building firm. Read more in the interview.  Brincat’s dad passed the magic baton onto his son and the magic rings opened up vistas for him professionally. The play is based on his family – with some artistic licence. A decade after his father’s death, Brincat was invited to perform the magic tricks he had learnt from his dad, for a party for Nelson Mandela, in 1996. The performance didn’t happen but Brincat was there, in the excitement of the celebrations.  The play is set in that time frame. It was 1996 – the time of the Rainbow Nation – so much hope and then – broken-ness. As Brincat, muses in the interview, in The Moon Looks Delicious from Here, he “sheds light on our current psyche as contemporary South Africans, and the ongoing debate of migration, identity and belonging.” How do we process our individual heritage and the heritage as a country?  What does ‘heritage’ mean?

The Moon Looks Delicious From Here – a delicious title – grapples with so much – family, race, racism, sexuality- and a lot more.  I loved how he pays homage to his father and the legacy he left him. The Moon poses uncomfortable questions and Brincat does not shy away from talking about unsavoury aspects of his family. In conjuring up this portrait, he flips between characters and uses the rings to literally ring out changes and shifts. He is on the bare stage, dressed in black, enthralling us with his story and the magical thread of his ancestry.

I saw The Moon Looks Delicious From Here on Sunday (September 10, 2023) at Theatre Arts in Cape Town and was mesmerised by this beautiful solo piece of theatre. Unfortunately, my week went pear shaped with challenges and I was unable to get my review out, so here I am with some impressions. I would love to see the piece again as it is a lot to process in one viewing. I think that the script could do with some nips and tucks. I liked the jumps and starts between characters and situations but at times, I battled to follow the sleight of hand changes. I would also like Brincat to move around the stage space more as he played predominantly to one side of the audience. The multi-talented and skilled Brincat (he has been a ballet dancer – done so much) is also a visual artist and I would love to see him activating the stage, by possibly using chalk to demarcate the arena of his performance magic.

The Moon Looks Delicious From Here- with its mesmeric magic and storytelling- is a show which will linger long after you have seen it. As with the linking rings of his family heirloom, Brincat magically loops the rings through each other – linking us into his stories and memories – and inviting us to contemplate the chains that bound, connect and tether us – individually and as a nation.

✳ Featured image TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen- screenshot of TikTok video: