Monthly Archives: April 2005

The Odd Couple

I have been roped into Neil Simon’s classic, The Odd Couple. I’m playing Felix, the neurotic divorcee, who ends up staying with his best friend Oscar, the slob, also recently divorced.

Almost two weeks away from the opening night, and the cast is still struggling with lines and cues. The props still have to show up. There is a general air of concern. It is a play with ‘a lot of business’ and one-liners.

Trying not to think of the clock ticking away.

But I cannot get the reams of lines into my head. Even Jacob seems to be doing better  – he is starting to provide me with unsolicited prompts when he sees the script flashed in front of his breakfast yoghurt.

And to think that I got into this because he wanted to escape from the daily grind.

I last performed at the Manoel Theatre in 1983.

I’m finally old enough to play Felix.

Though there is no age-limit to being neurotic.

Republic Day

For some time, Max has been thinking of bowing out of this blog.

Max does not lead an interesting life. He lives on a small island. He has a small life. He has long ceased to be a member of an Air Miles Club.

And yet, on another level, there’s plenty afoot.

For a start, a journey home now takes twice as long as all the roads leading to Siggiewi are dug up. The main access is now via what’s best described as a goat track through what’s left of an old valley. By the time Max gets home, he feels like lying down or getting a prize.

Max has also joined the iPod millions. No surprise that Max now takes his iPod to bed, and on the Saturday visits to the swings with Jacob. On most days, Max can be seen trying to untangle himself from the coil of his headphones.

Then, there was something that Julian told Max. He said that he had found it very difficult to figure out his father. Julian figures that Max is writing a blog to make Jacob understand his father.

And Max has been coerced into another play. More about that, on some other day.

This afternoon, a comment from somebody called Chris urged Max to remove one of his postings. It warned Max that he was making enemies by making snide remarks on politicians, corporates and those who hide behind them.

Max looked at his screen, sipped his camomille tea, then, almost without thinking, pressed the delete button on the post, and watched it vapourise into cyberspace.

Max was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of remorse.

Max remembers that when he was a child, he used to think that the cult TV series The Prisoner was shot in Malta. He used to go to bed with pictures of the large, inflatable white baloon chasing him to his bedroom.

In the late seventies and eighties, the baloon in Malta took shape, and the island wa s overcome by a spate of dictatorship, violence, teargas and fear. Max did what a many of his generation did – he sold his bike, bought a plane ticket, and lost himself in a large metropolis. London offered him anonymity, space, and a chance to start again. Max found his voice, got himself a career, travelled the world and made some money and real friendships.

It was only the grey that made him return to the island, ten years later. That, and the desire to own a house, with a courtyard and a cat, and to look at the waves. And some new-found sense of optimism, that the rock had changed its spots, that the place had somehow mellowed and grown up.

In 2005, there is much to point that Max had made yet another mistake.

But Max is grateful to Mr Chris. He has made him remember that there is a blog to write. And that the power of the Internet was never in the hands of the corporates, or the politicians, or those who serve them, and climb up the greasy career pole by selling their soul. Or those who continue to serve the system, silently, in fear, or in cocktail parties, because this is a small place and everybody knows everybody’s business.

The fact that this blog is being written on Malta’s Republic Day makes Max cackle.

Max may have deleted the post, but not the evidence.

Because Max never lies.