Mary Grech Born in Gozo on 2 nd, May, 1937.
After some years came in Malta with here family and live in Paola. Her first interest in the arts started years ago, while still at school, As a young girl she always love plays and drama and for that reason she joined the Liliputsian group. It was the Barunessa Giuseppina Attard Montalto who founded it and she always made sure that the productions she put up were appropriate for children. However, I always tried to look older than my age and when I first met Victor Grech, today my husband, through this children’s group he proposed that I join the adults’ company. Which, of course, I was only too happy to do. At the time, Victor was a prompter for the children’s company, but he was also active with the "grown-ups".
And so it came about that I joined Wattie Cachia’s company. Wattie was definitely one of the best, he even used to sing at the Royal Opera House. And I was the youngest member, you can imagine what a fuss they all made of me. Wattie started me off with a leading part in Id-Dell tad-Destin and it was here that I sung for the first time on stage. But my heart was more in acting than in singing and I didn’t pursue that line.
Suddenly I had all sorts of options open in front of me. I was studying short-hand and other secretarial skills, because I was quite keen on a career in that field. But at the same time I started becoming more and more interested in theatre. I joined the re-diffusion, where I met big names such as Effie Ciantar, Charles Arrigo and Victor Galdes for the first time. And I started working with Twanny Scalpello, experimenting even with operas. I still remember rehearsing with Maestro Manche, who was THE Maestro at the time. And so, of course, slowly but surely I started neglecting that other office career and the stage took all the time I had. I did stop for two years, when I was still young and unsure and decided to go for a short holiday in Canada, visiting my brothers. The short holiday, much to my mother’s dismay, turned into a two year stay.
But eventually I realised that I did miss Malta and so back I came. Only to find that all my friends had married and settled down, except for Victor! Still not having any firm plans I took an office job. But it wasn’t long before I married Victor and he convinced me to put in an application with Xandir Malta. I was certain that they’d never pick up my application out of those thousands…. Yet, after a whole five months of auditioning, they did.
And so I was there with all the first ones when Xandir Malta started transmitting on the 29th September of 1962. This was the very first day of television and it was a historic event for everyone. And to think, that I, together with Charles Abela Mizzi, had been chosen out of 2,000 people! My full-time career there lasted exactly sixteen years, throughout which I tried my hand at everything: I did music programmes, I read the news, I covered Parliament… Any kind of job going, I would take it.
My career on stage was put on hold. You have to consider that I in the meantime I’d had two kids, Josef and Christianne. Which meant that for a long while juggling a full-time job, two kids and a house was all I could cope with. I was rather lucky because Victor and I worked different hours – Victor would be back home by one on the afternoon while the bulk of my work was in the evening – and so we never had to "dump" the kids at their grand-parents’!
Of course, eventually the theatre pulled me back and three years ago I accepted my first part on stage after such a long time. And then Ipokriti came along – actually my involvement in Ipokriti came about through my husband, who had joined the cast before me. They needed more actors and I accepted Iva’s part. So many people have told me that I shouldn’t have accepted the part, because the woman I portray is so unlike me. In fact, Iva is a bitch through and through, though mind you, the audience should expect some surprises in that respect. Let’s just say that my character will become more mellow in the future.
But it’s funny how so many people don’t distinguish between acting and real life. I mean, I’ve had people asking my maid whether I am as bitchy to her as Iva is in Ipokriti! If only they knew how un-Iva I am. But this phenomenon is not limited to Malta. When I used to watch the Bold and the Beautiful, back in its hey days, I remember one incident when Sheila (one of the nastiest characters) was literally stoned by a mob during some event or other…
But people who know me well joke about the dissimilarities in our characters. Believe me it’s not easy to take on such a bitchy role when you are unaccustomed to it. Before filming I have to psyche myself up into the role, I try to irritate myself so that Iva’s lines come natural. But I have to say that I’ll be extremely happy when her character softens up a bit!
This work has given me a whole new lease of life. Those years after I finished working with PBS and found myself with time on my hands, I can’t say I enjoyed them. Although I’m getting on, I’m really not one to retire and still feel that I have a lot more to contribute. Now I’m starting off a new radio show about children’s music: the subject promises to be lots of fun and I’m in my element. It all came through thanks to my grand-child Timothy, with whom I spend so much time watching children’s videos Yes, the media, I’ve discovered, is completely under my skin.