‘Theatre in Malta is the best of both worlds’ | Thomas Camilleri

Having returned from a stint in the UK and participated in Christmas variety show The Comedy Knights, actor Thomas Camilleri speaks to us about his upcoming role in All New People, Masquerade Theatre’s production of the Off-Broadway hit written by Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State).

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
28 January 2015, 8:30am
Thomas Camilleri:
Thomas Camilleri: "I’d never done comedy before and I’ve never seen myself as being particularly funny"
How did feel to get into this production right after Comedy Knights?

I’d heard that Tony was doing Noises Off in April and I’d got in touch with him to ask if I could audition, as it’s one of my favourites. He told me that he was doing something before then that he wanted to see me for and, as always happens, rehearsals for All New People started the day after we finished the Comedy Knights. It’s a very different show and a hugely different character to anyone I’ve ever played in the past, so I’m really enjoying the challenge.

How would you describe the experience of Comedy Knights? Did it teach you anything you deem important about acting, particularly in comedy?

I initially turned the show down, I’d never done comedy before and I’ve never seen myself as being particularly funny. After a bit of convincing I relented and I’m glad I did. It really helps to be working with a great script, and almost a year after moving back to this crazy island I can confirm that we really do have the best subject matter to work with. Honestly, spend five minutes in any shop and you’ve got a sketch script done.

How would you describe the tone of All New People? Are you looking forward to developing your character, and what angle will you approaching him from?

It’s a dark comedy and really well written. Zach Braff is a great writer and a fantastic actor and did a great job of writing this – I hope I can do it justice. Myron’s a drug-dealing, New Jersey fireman so he’s a tad different to me – but that’s the challenge! The accent and voice is a great place to start from, even when learning the lines I learn them in the accent and at his pitch so that they really anchor in Myron’s character. There are other funny ways that help with the development such as the physicality that the fireman’s suit brings with it, I find it really helps build the overall picture.

Are you looking forward to performing at M Space?

Definitely. I started off locally with Masquerade and it’s wonderful that [Artistic Director] Anthony Bezzina built this gem of a centre, M Space, which houses Blue Box, the intimate theatre All New People will be staged in. It’s great to have such an immersive space to work in.

How would you describe the theatrical scene in Malta?

Wonderful. Everyone does it because they love it. It has its limitations due to our size and budgets but it has soul and passion. Plus, with Malta being so tiny, I can finish work and zip off to Msida for a rehearsal – best of both worlds!

What’s next for you?

I’m going straight into Noises Off, also with Masquerade, but after that I’ll be taking a short break while I get stuck in with renovating this retro 50s flat I got at the end of last year. I love getting my hands dirty and I’m doing as much as I can myself so with working Dolly Parton hours it doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else.

All New People will be staged at M Space, Msida on February 27 and 28; March 1, 6-8 at 20:00. Directed by Anthony Bezzina, the rest of the cast includes Malcolm Galea, Maxine Aquilina and Jo Caruana. Tickets are at €10 and €15. Bookings: 2124 6619 or 7979 3737 or by logging on to www.bluebox.com.mt

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...