Boys will be boys | Mark Mifsud and Claudio Carta

Buddies and bullies in the play ‘Il-Hajja Xejn Cool ta’ teenager Jismu Julian’, actors Mark Mifsud and Claudio Carta share more than theatre in life. They speak to MaltaToday about motorbikes, role-playing games and acting.

Mark Mifsud (far left) and Claudio Carta (far right).
Mark Mifsud (far left) and Claudio Carta (far right).

When did you get your first bike? When did you realise you wanted to drive one?

Claudio Carta: I got my bike a year ago and I wouldn't change it for anything. Driving one makes you feel alive and free and with the Maltese weather it is perfect. The problem of parking was my excuse to get one though.

Mark Mifsud: I had never dreamt of riding a bike. Up until the day I rode one, they were unsafe vehicles to my mind.  As it happened, we were filming a TV series in which my character was to be a biker, so I wanted to prepare by being familiar with bikes and riding... just so I could do it naturally on set. I took some lessons, and immediately fell in love with the feeling.  As soon as I got my license I bought my first bike.

'Il-Hajja Xejn Cool ta' Teenager Jismu Julian' portrays a teenager obsessed with an RPG game. Do you understand his passion? What is so incredible about these games?

CC: RPG games were always my favourite. You do get immersed in another world and become another character. But not only that, if you are playing online you get to interact with other players and in certain cases you can only talk as your character. I love it because it is a nice break. Did I mention addiction? Because it can get really addictive!

MM: I love computer and console games. Since I was nine years old, I've always owned some kind of gaming machine, so I can totally identify with Julian's attraction to such games. They are fun, relaxing, challenging... educational sometimes. They can be either a relaxing five minutes to de-stress, or a three-hour marathon to make an evening if you're stuck at home. Nowadays the storylines for games are becoming so complex and intriguing, it's almost as if you're watching a movie... a movie you can interact with and control. Obviously, some people take it to an extreme, where it becomes a job or an addiction. As always, some form of balance with actual physical exercise would be ideal.

In this play you are buddies and the coolest gang of the school who tend to bully the 'not so cool' students. Were you part of the cool crowd at school or were you more like Julian?

CC: No, I wasn't part of the cool gang but really a Julian. I was lucky to have attended a school where bullying wasn't a concern and I always felt comfortable with all the different 'gangs' at school.

MM: I had a rather neutral experience at school. I was neither bullied, nor a bully. I was accepted by both sides equally, so I never had any trouble.  However, one could observe various forms of bullying in the playgrounds and classrooms, and sometimes I found myself partaking in it, even if without malice.

Claudio: you are one of the few actors in Malta who has shown their 'lower regions' in a tanga on stage during 'In-Nisa Maltin Jafu Kif' even though it wasn't technically your first time (as you acted nude in the film The Devil's Double). Which one was hardest: the stage or the film? Do you regret having accepted such role?

CC: Nudity or close-to-nudity scenes are often given a lot of importance, especially in Malta. However, I do not think they are any different. As long as the scene is within context and is needed to get the message through I have no problem with it. In my case be it on stage or on film, both situations needed this to emphasize a point, so I do not regret doing this. In fact even though I got the occasional comments regarding the scene it was never the main focus.

How did your family and friends take it?

CC: I am not the kind of person who would hide this sort of thing, and waste time agonising over how I'm going to tell people about it. As soon as I got the part I went home and told them about the role. Obviously amid laughs and being asked how come I am not shy about this, they understood the situation and were actually supportive. With friends it's a totally different story. Jokes never stop and we always took the lighter side of the situation.

Mark: lately your roles vary from TV series, passion plays with Metanoia Theatre, filming with Simshar and now also preparing for 'Il-Hajja Xejn Cool'. Do you feel the need to work in all genres to be a fulfilled actor?

MM: I'm just terrible at saying "no", so I accept all the roles that get offered to me! Joking aside, I don't think you need to do theatre, TV and film to be a fulfilled actor. I like all forms of acting, so I appreciate all the challenges that each medium brings about.

You tend to play the part of the tough guy. Why do you think you get such parts? Which ones do you prefer?

MM: I have varied my repertoire over the years and I've played all sorts of roles from the lover-boy to the tough guy, but somehow the tough guy stuck. I'm still trying to figure out why. Ironically, my physical constitution isn't what you'd expect from a tough guy! Could someone shed some light on this, please?

'Il-Hajja Xejn Cool ta' Teenager Jismu Julian' will be playing at St James Cavalier from April 26 till April 28 at 19:30. Tickets are €12 for adults and €8 for students. For information visit