In the fall of 2011, Malaos’ theatrical play With Over Two Pieces of Luggage met with critical acclaim when it was presented in New York. It consists of a series of stories that examine the modern immigrant experience in New York, and underlying autobiographical sub-stories.
The work is the playwright’s autobiographical tale; a young man growing up in Cyprus and coming to New York in pursuit of a dream. Overprotected yet insecure, he is brought up in the conservative, tight-knit familial society of Lefkosia before arriving to a land of new opportunities, new relationships, and new values… After 10 years of residency in New York, the play refers to the hero’s experiences in a big city, and how his upbringing, mentors, friends, family, military training and “foreign” principles have positively or negatively influenced the way in which he handles himself in the city of opportunities and isolation. Airline regulations allow for a maximum of two pieces of luggage when travelling to the United States. At the heart of the play lies the additional baggage that all new-age immigrants carry upon moving to New York; success, love, money, health, and the sense of obligation towards our family, all building up to the grand final decision: Should I stay or should I go?
The uniqueness of the play lies within the theatrical styles from which it is influenced and with which the play is presented. From standup comedy, to spontaneous unscripted dialogue among the actors, to live dialogue between the actors and the audience, to actual testimonies by figures who have had an impact on our hero’s New York stay.
In a city where the worries and fears are as numerous and various as the cultures of which it consists, the play shines a spotlight on the crossroads that every immigrant comes to; the emotional, the personal, and the existential crossroads.
Written and directed by Malaos (and starring as himself), the multimedia play has been praised as falling into the category of brilliant new art production by young Cypriots living in America.