So all in all a rather tall order for an adaptation. Rona Munro takes on the challenge with mixed results. Sensibly, she opts not for a faithful adaption but still retains plenty of the plot—perhaps a little too much.
Now, it's coming to stages across the UK, with a new script by playwright Rona Munro. Alex Mugnaioni, who stars as Captain Corelli, tells us what he loved about the book, and why the play is so important today. Let's start by talking about the novel.
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Transforming the familiar wartime romance from the page to a theatre setting must have been a challenge but sadly, it seems too ambitious a task to remain faithful to the novel. There are simply too many characters vying for stage time and plot development. Madison Clare Pelagia appears to already be losing her voice but gives a convincingly stubborn performance as a headstrong daughter with amusing chemistry shining between her and her caring father Dr Iannis Joseph Long.
The same stream of seduction weaves through his latest, and finest novel, but this one avoids the cabaret of hocus-pocus effects and fabulist portents. Great while it lasted, that vein is now mined. But de Bernieres is still deploying the same audacious imagination.
Corelli's Mandolin is the story of a group of people whose lives become intertwined on the Greek island of Cephallonia during the Italian and German occupation of World War II. Iannis lives on the island with his beautiful daughter, Pelagia, who is engaged to a local fisherman named Mandras. When Italy invades Greece, Mandras leaves the island to join the resistance fighters and an Italian unit occupies the island under the command of Captain Antonio Corelli, who is housed with the doctor.
The author, who has kindly shared this essay with readers of the Victorian Webhas excerpted it from a monograph that will serve as an introduction to a forthcoming limited edition of Corelli's collected supernatural short stories, Dark Angels, Pale Ghosts. Readers may wish to visit her Violet Books sitewhich contains additional information on Corelli, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century science fiction and fantasy, and book illustration of this period. Time was, Marie Corelli was the most widely read author England possessed.
Madison Clare, armed with a theatrical background and a fitting Greek heritage, has been cast as the strong-willed and plucky Pelagia and is thrilled with her role. The story tells of a tumultuous romance that blossoms out of the hatred of wartime, with lovers Antonio and Pelagia struggling with the wider political landscape and war-torn Greece but ultimately consumed by each other. The relationship between the two, both onstage and off, is therefore of critical importance.