If there ever was a lady of the Maltese stage who needed no introduction, it’s Pia Zammit. Her warm vocal chords have long been familiar to listeners of Maltese radio, and many a theatre goer is guaranteed an arresting performance by her. Though she’ll never disclose her age, she’s been treading the boards for many years now. She had started helping out backstage at the MADC, and then moved on to The One Act Play Festival and a few bit parts in pantos. Eventually, she started working with various companies as well, and before long, she was addicted.
“I’ve been really lucky to have been given some amazing roles. With each role you learn more, you grow more. You discover more about what makes us human and how people work. I can be quite naïve when it comes to people’s emotions. I always think the best of people and I’m always shocked when some turn out not being very nice. So being able to play characters who are very flawed is always a lot of fun and very instructive too.”
Star Sign: Gemini
Occupation: Actress, Voice Over Artist, Freelance Writer, Blogger
Above: Pia Zammit with Mikhail Basmadjian in Fat Boy – Credit: Michael Fenech
How do you feel about the growing number of actors and actresses in Malta?
The more the merrier! The bigger the pool, the easier it becomes to cast roles. I think that we have a heck of a lot of talent on this tiny island. I definitely think that more young children should be encouraged to take drama lessons. They don’t necessarily need to become actors, however, drama lessons increase their confidence and their public speaking abilities. It helps them become better communicators. Unfortunately, these skills don’t form part of our curriculum locally, and therefore drama classes can help to make up the short fall.
And for those kids who do want theatre (whether acting, producing, directing or being part of a technical team) professionally, there are more opportunities these days than there were when I was starting out, and so I therefore say go for it, have fun, be nice, don’t be a diva (male or female), and always remember that there are no small parts – only small actors.
While acting, what kind of response do you get from the audience?
It really depends on the play and on the audience. It varies from play to play and from audience to audience. The kind of response I absolutely hate is the sound or sight of people’s mobile phones. I’m known for yelling at an audience if a performance is interrupted by someone on their phone. I think it’s so rude and disrespectful. You’re very naked and vulnerable when you’re on a stage. You’re wearing the skin of another person, and it’s a privilege and an honour to be able to do so. To have that spell broken by someone being inconsiderate and using their phone is just not on.
Above: Pia Zammit (left) with Laura Bonnici in Old Times – Credit: Christine Joan Muscat Azzopardi
Is there somewhere or something you’re hoping to act in in the future?
Anything and anywhere that challenges me. I’d welcome the chance to perform in a different country just because the experience will be interesting, as I’ll be completely out of my element. New theatre, new audience.
How would you describe your relationship with money?
Unfortunately, money broke up with me many years ago and I haven’t recovered from the heartache. I miss it daily, but it doesn’t even know I’m alive!
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I try not to think about that, as I’ll be ten years older! In ten years’ time, I’d like to look ten years younger than I do now.
Image above: Alan Paris and Pia Zammit in Fat Men in Skirts