Schlock Podcast – Episode 2

Welcome again to Schlock’s podcast, now on it’s second episode with well over an hour’s worth of flash fiction, discussions and even a first – a comedy sketch of a rather dark nature, as Schlock Troupe make their audio debut after a successful run at The Burlesque Monster Cruise earlier this month.

Taking part is the Schlock team –  Teodor Reljic, Pete Farrugia, Noel Tanti, Bettina Borg Cardona, Michael Vella and Marco Attard.

Readings

Living on an Island is Like…(part 6) by Michael Vella – 0:54

A City Chase by Marco Attard – 3:38

The Third Rome by Daniel Vella – 30:07

Cafe Noir by Bettina Borg Cardona – 33:55

A day in the life of an A-B-C-darian by Peter Farrugia – 53:57

Only Light by Teodor Reljic – 57:21

Discussions:

Teodor and Marco handle the Marvel Might that is Thor, in a discussion leading into general talk on the current trend for superhero cinema. – 5:45

Comic! Michael leads a discussion with Noel and Marco on their current readings of a more graphical nature. – 36:19

Sketch:

OAPs by Schlock Troupe – 1:01:49

Click the arrow button to download or listen right here… either way, we hope you enjoy our ramblings – we’ll be back next month with more!

Special thanks go to Friend of Schlock Thom Cuschieri for making the recording of the podcast possible, the music, and for putting it all together in the end!

Be sure to stay with us for the coming weeks – our Exploration-themed issue will be making its way in early June, and it’ll be accompanied by the usual flash week from our core contributors. Also, please don’t hesitate to leave your feedback – positive or negative, we love it!

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Only Light

Photo by Aldo Cauchi Savona

There are no shows here, he said. There is only light, sound and magic.

He was fifty-two then, when the local rags seized the delicious sound bite. What Caliban and the Travelling Circus of Valletta had attempted to do was unprecedented; nobody could deny that much. A proper variety show, lasting beyond two, three weekends and into the entire year. Nobody here had the funds, or the audiences for that.

Valletta is in ruins, he continued, and we will make her weep at the memory of her greatness.

After the trainee journalist left the backstage, the troupe began a run through without Caliban – their portly leader decided his trip to the grocery store couldn’t wait.

Peaches, he said. My wife loves peaches and we’re all out.

They knew about her love of peaches – it was the only insight into his private life that they got – it was everything else they were blind to. The clothes he just layered and layered on himself (even as the merciless Mediterranean summer encroached on the humid isle), the leather jacket he draped over it all, the sunglasses he wore even indoors and the hat – a ridiculous cowboy hat – finished off with the equally preposterous, inexplicable moniker.

The run was perfect. It was a shame Caliban wasn’t there to see it. When he returned to the black box theatre, he was clutching a bag on peaches in one hand. He stared at the troupe for a few moments; their faces – varied as they were – all wore the same mixture of satisfaction and relief.

He went backstage without saying a word. Later, some of the troupe would whisper that they saw tears in his eyes.

***

“Caliban is not so much a mystery, as a caricature with no context,” Cynthia said once, over drinks at The Crushed Petal, a pretentious bar the troupe attended because they couldn’t be bothered to walk to anywhere better after rehearsals, and performances too.

They all agreed with Cynthia’s assessment, and they agreed too that Caliban should never, ever hear what was said between them. It wasn’t that they were scared – they were co-opted into the doomed project largely in a spirit of defiance – but they could all intuitively sense that the baffling edifice that made up their director would shatter at the first sign of criticism from his troupe. He didn’t call them ‘children’, but Cynthia sometimes dreamt he did.

Cynthia was the most beautiful girl of the troupe. She wasn’t tall but in everything else she was flawless: her skin was porcelain-smooth, her hair was a delicious strawberry blonde and her hips met that perfect Mediterranean meridian of sizable and elegant. She was the troupe’s bearded lady, and she wrote her own jokes.

“Cali directs the show with all the pomposity of a ballet guy, but with none of the discipline, or substance.”

Despite this, she loved him, as they all did.

***

He did cry that day. His wife had died. The peaches remained backstage for two whole weeks, even after the show ground to an inelegant halt. The final performance welcomed six audience members, four of which were comps. Cynthia had cousins flying over from Brussels, and begged them to come even though begging was not her strong suit.

They met, two weeks later, but not at The Crushed Petal. Valletta was still in ruins, and they had no reason to navigate through them now.

“That journalist sent me a nice email,” Cynthia said. She had broken into a giggle; they were already tipsy from cheap wine. “Did you see the headline? Sound and magic, and all capitalised! I swear this country is shit from top to bottom…”

They wished Caliban were with them. But when they thought about him celebrating anything, they paused their thoughts, and reconsidered.

Gorillas and Reptiles and Cross-Dressing Oh My!

Yes, we'll be performing on a pirate ship.

Schlock Troupe will be back on the stage in just over a week’s time, as Pete, Bettina and Teodor perform in the Burlesque Monster Cruise, taking place on May 6, 7, 8 at The Black Pearl in Ta’ Xbiex.

The sketch, tantalisingly entitled ‘Gorno’, will feature a mix of bawdy, politically-incorrect humour as it tells the tale of Sheik Shake (Pete) and Svetlana Hornikova (Bettina). Supposedly on their second honeymoon, the couple have unresolved issues, and not all of them have to do with blown-up cultural differences. But will the Psychologist (Teodor) – who chains the couple up in the belly of a cruise ship in an attempt at avant-garde healing – prove to be the saving grace of the marriage, or its downfall?

Schlock made quite an impression on the crowds last year, with a sketch entitled ‘The Gorilla and the Pussy’. Here’s hoping that Gorno will up the stakes! In the meantime, here’s a video.

For tickets, send an email to email on dazzlent@gmail.com or call/sms 79911200. Alternatively, you can give us a shout out on the event’s Facebook page.

In case you couldn’t tell from the above, the show is rated 18.

Schlock Perform to Sold Out Crowds, Wow Critics!

L - R: Marlene (Teodor Reljic) and Mammy (Peter Farrugia) are introduced to Luis (Bettina Borg Cardona)

Photography by Claire Waterfield

Last weekend saw Schlock’s stage debut, as members of the magazine performed an original sketch in Dazzle Troupe’s The Vaudeville Circus at Escape Club (St George’s Bay, Malta).

The sharp and shocking drag sketch entitled The Gorilla and the Pussy was written and performed by Peter Farrugia, Teodor Reljic and Bettina Borg Cardona – founding members of Schlock.

Together they presented a grotesque version of classic Hollywood legends Marlene Dietrich (Reljic) and Hattie McDaniel’s iconic Mammy from Gone with the Wind (Farrugia).

"Luis, he change your life!"

Marlene, a faded diva with delusions of grandeur, lives a secluded life with Mammy her belaboured servant and their seductive pet Cat (Maria Pia Meli). Enters the randy Spanish matador Luis Cabron de Enchilada Caliente (Borg Cardona) with promises of restoring Marlene to her former glory – yet inevitably our oversexed Spaniard succumbs to Mammy’s “maternal” charms, disrupting the dysfunctional ménage à trois for good.

"Mammy, you can give those dildos away to charity. I've got a feeling we won't be needing them anymore."

The sketch was warmly received by sold-out crowds who appreciated its bawdy blend of surreal humour and political incorrectness. Schlock’s sketch garnered praise from The Times of Malta’s theatre critic André Delicata, who was impressed by the script and found that Borg Cardona and Reljic “excelled at cross-dressing and bringing to life two incredibly self-centred characters” and characterised Farrugia’s Mammy as “hilarious”.

Schlock’s skit was flanked by a variety of performances including fusion belly dancing, mime, operatic lunacy and a botched magic act – an evening of enchanted Vaudevillian madness!