INTERVIEW WITH ACTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT MALCOLM GALEA

Malcolm Galea is familiar to many from a number of comedies and children’s plays in English and Maltese. His other work consists of three musicals, ten pantomimes, and a feature film. It is not surprising – he has been writing for theatre ever since he finished university in 2002. He often acts and directs for theatre as well, and performs stand-up comedy sets. “I have performed stand-up all over Malta, as well as at cities like London, Edinburgh, Tallinn, and Washington DC. My most recent theatre credit was writing, directing and narrating the MADC pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk,” stated Malcolm Galea in this interview with Ramona Portelli.

Eve: What have been your highlights during these past five years?

Photo credit: Victor Vella

Malcolm Galea: In 2014, I staged my Francis Ebejer award-winning play Id-Dlam taħt it-Teatru at the Manoel Theatre and shortly afterwards we staged Porn – the Musical at Pjazza Teatru Rjal with the original Edinburgh Fringe cast from 2010. Then we took our children’s show, The Complete History of Malta (More or Less), to the Kids Euro Festival in Washington DC. In 2015, I acted in Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride at St James Cavalier for the MADC, and in 2016, I was in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple with my long-time collaborator Chris Dingli at the Manoel Theatre. A couple of months later I wrote and directed the sex comedy Marti Martek, Martek Marti at the same theatre for Staġun Teatru Malti and my romantic comedy, 20,000 Reasons, was released. In 2017, we took our children’s play The Complete History of Europe (More or Less) for a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe, and last year I represented Malta in the Our Lives project at the Berlin Improv Festival. My last two pantomimes; Jack and the Beanstalk and Alice in Wonderland (Manoel, December 2017), in which I also played dame, were great fun.

Eve: Lately you’ve been creating quality theatre pieces for young audiences and students. Can you tell us more about these projects?

MG: Through our company, More or Less Theatre, we now offer five educational comedies that are aimed at young audiences. The Complete History of Malta, Everything you need to know about Science, and The Complete History of Europe are quite self-explanatory while Babaw uses a monster from Maltese folklore to teach young children about bullying, and Caravagg-who? is a comedy that aims to teach older children about Malta’s artistic heritage. All our pieces are entertaining and informative while also being permanently available to tour schools.

Eve: What’s the hardest part about being an actor and what’s the best?

MG: I see myself as more of a writer than an actor. As an actor you have a limited control over your career, whereas if you also write or produce, you have a lot more leeway (and work). In this line of work there are no guarantees, and if you’re not constantly creative, you’ll sink. I suppose that’s the most difficult part of it. The best part is when you’re literally able to make your dreams come true as you see teams of dedicated people working on a crazy idea you’ve had several months earlier so they can bring it to life.

Eve: When you’re not writing or directing, what do you do that gives you equal pleasure?

With the family. Photo credit: Sebio Aquilina

MG: Writing gives me more satisfaction than all other aspects of theatre life. Even though it can be quite stressful at points, I cannot imagine ever stopping it. Other than that, spending time with my wife and sons usually gives me even more pleasure. As a writer I often work from my home office, so I can take an active role in my sons’ childhood. I’m grateful for that.

Eve: What is your most treasured material possession?

MG: I’m not sure I have one. Apart from my family and friends, pretty much everything else is fairly dispensable. I lose stuff all the time, so it’s probably just as well that I don’t get attached to anything.

Eve: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

MG: To be honest I never expected to get this far in the first place, so I’ll just keep winging it and hope for the best.

Further reading:

Video interview: Malcolm Galea