Raw charisma and talent, actress and performer Erica Muscat
Every now and again a role comes along that challenges the status quo. But what of the actor whose choice of roles aims to challenge the status quo over and over again? Erica Muscat (Eleġija, Meanderings) is one of those rare actors whose talent and appeal has led one director after the other to trust her with an unconventional role that would offer a unique spin to a well-known tale. Without her raw charisma and talent, these choices would most certainly have been less than wise.
Hailing from Malta, Erica graduated from the prestigious East 15 Acting School in London. When deciding on her casting options, Erica remembers fondly how her tutor had laughed when a speechless Erica, which she admits is a rare occurrence, was dumbfounded when asked ‘what do you like to do? “I couldn’t think of any two things that would fit into the same ‘like’ bracket. I love Classical music as much as I enjoy Rock and Horse riding calms my nerves in the same way a quiet movie night has me bouncing off the walls.
Erica Muscat
I thought it would really throw my casting, but instead, they just cast me in completely opposing roles, from dire and despondent army Captains to the flirtatious and youthful Dooniasha in (Chekhov’s) The Cherry Orchard. It was incredible… I saw classmates being cast in relatively consistent roles and I just began to see this dichotomy as a part of my casting”. So she wasn’t quite as shocked when shortly after graduating she began getting cast in completely opposing roles. In 2013 she was cast in William E.P. Davis’ London run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “I got the offer to play Bottom and I thought, ‘male comedic role’… We never held back on the comedy but through Will’s reordering of the scenes and the social implications of Bottom being a woman, the character became the catalyst for the tragedy of the piece.”
This summer Erica is set to play Juliet in a National Run of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to be staged at The Maltese Presidential Gardens. “I consider myself blessed to cross paths with Directors who see my work and are inspired to take a risk”. But the risks pay off. In 2014, one particular Director cast her to play the Bard Himself (Shakespeare), in an original one-man-show by Phil Jacobs called Mad About the Boy. The Director, Menelaos Karantzas, had intentionally omitted mentioning his actor’s name in all correspondence to the producer until the first meeting when he introduced his lead male actor to be an actress instead. “It was just a wee bit worrying because I had no idea what was happening. I’d been offered the role over the phone whilst in LA and I’d flown to London to work on the piece instead of coming back to Malta, which is where I was originally flying back to. Then our first meeting with the producer arrived and Menelaos was pulled aside quietly and I could see the tension and disapproval on the producer’s face. They humored us and let me do my part but, thankfully, the producer absolutely loved Menelaos’ vision. But Menelaos had stuck his neck out and I will be eternally grateful to have been a part of that incredible vision and to have people willing to humor us too…”
It seems highly unlikely that Erica will be slowing down anytime soon. Besides Juliet, she already has another feature screenplay in the works with Writer Kenneth Scicluna and the sky is the limit for this talented and versatile actress.