LAYERS UPON LAYERS
MALTESE ACTOR AND PERFORMER EMANUEL TABONE SHINES BRIGHT ACROSS BORDERS
Emanuel Tabone became a household name in Malta when he won the local television talent competition Bravi. Emanuel was selected with a monologue from Shakespeare, which he did in the original language - he was fluent after years of boarding school in the U.K. He ended up winning the competition and beating over 200 participants. He then participated in the beloved Dance X, which aired on BBC One every Saturday in 2007 and made him widely recognized in the U.K. He was the audience’s favorite participant. The Mirror even wrote that he was “drawing millions of fans to Dance X.” Suddenly, Emanuel was in the spotlight at only 23 years old; it was quite a shock for him, a self-described shy “Geek.”
Fig 1. Emanuel Tabone as 'Damian' and actor Sinclair Mifsud as 'Pedro' in the TV series "Jackpot 4"
Almost two decades later, Emanuel continues to have a prolific career in the entertainment world as an actor. His background in dance makes him stand out, as he often gets cast in musicals. Sound of Music, Rock of Ages, or The Adams Family, Emanuel has quite a few important credits under his belt. He is very grateful to have worked with some very important artists: he played a starring role in the play The Harbour Odyssey, co-created and directed by Marc Cabourdin. Produced by Malta International Arts Festival, the performance is a theatrical retelling of rich local myths. The show, which took place in the Summer of 2019, and again in 2022, received great reviews from important local publications, including Times of Malta
Fig 2. Emanuel Tabone in the role of ‘Ja Keith’ and Rachel Fabri as ‘Regina’ for the musical theater show
“Rock of Ages”
While Emanuel enjoys the stage, he also feels at home in the world of television. One of the fondest memories of his career was playing the role of ‘Peter’ in the TV series L-Ispettur, which aired in Malta in 2020 on TVM, Malta’s national TV station. “I got the opportunity to work with some of the biggest local actors such as Mario Micallef, Monica Attard, Charles Sammut, Lara Azzoppardi, and Lawrence Buontempo,” he says. It was the most watched show on the island. He then got cast in another TV show called Jackpot 4, which is currently airing this year on the Maltese channel ONE TV. His love for TV and screenwork has evolved over the years. “Theatre has always been my preferred medium. The reason being is that from the moment the curtain goes up until it comes back down, you have to live your characters’ life continuously without pause. There is nowhere to hide in the theatre,” he shares with us before adding: “However, over the last eight years, I have also delved into TV & film and soon discovered that it is even harder as there is no audience to give you an instant reaction, there is even less room to hide as the camera captures everything and even the slightest change of thought is caught and could render your performance to being non-believable. As someone who enjoys bringing characters to life the most, I can honestly say that nowadays I don't have a preference between the two mediums as they both offer great challenges.”
Fig 3. Emanuel Tabone in the role of 'Peter' and Lara Azzoppardi as 'Katie' in the TV series "L'Ispettur"
At the end of the day, what Emanuel enjoys is character work. He finds humanity in each role and uses his work as a springboard to send a universal message to his audience: “I suppose my aim is always to show that we are all made of layers upon layers,'’ he adds. Sometimes, it is hard, and this is why he has to keep this approach in mind. Recently, Emanuel played “Jack the Ripper,'' the notorious serial killer, in a theatrical production called Grisly Cabaret. The play was part of Festivals Malta’s Notte Bianca, an important event in Malta that takes place every Fall. Emanuel enjoyed the challenge. Playing a complicated and dark character involves a lot of script work and preparation. He talks us through his approach: “Sometimes you can find clues in the script which would help you; however, to get to know a character, you must know his history and what could’ve led him to this point in the story. So I delved into that. Does he carry any painful memories? Has he had a comfortable life? Does he have any deep emotional issues?” Acting is both deconstructing as much as it is building, something Emanuel understands very well.
For aspiring actors and entertainers, Emanuel has some valuable advice. The industry is synonymous with rejection. “Love what you do. Love it like it’s the only thing worth living for. You will always have ups and downs. Be truthful with yourself and move at your own pace,” he adds with a smile. As the great actress, Stella Adler once said, “Growth as an actor and a human being are synonymous.” Emanuel is the perfect example of this.