John Caird to Direct A New Production Of Michael Morpurgo’s Book The Mozart Question Adapted By Vicki Berwick At The Barn

Michael Morpurgo Iwan Lewis Vicki Berwick c Paul Wright
Michael Morpurgo Iwan Lewis Vicki Berwick c Paul Wright

Following the hugely successful production of Michael Morpurgo’s The Butterfly Lion, The Barn Theatre is delighted to announce a new collaboration with Morpurgo, which will see Tony© and Olivier winner John Caird direct Vicki Berwick’s new adaptation of The Mozart Question. The production will open at The Barn in May 2020, following which it will transfer to the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham. It will then embark on a UK tour.

When young reporter Lesley is sent to Venice to interview a world-renowned violinist, the journalist is told she can ask Paolo Levi anything about his life and career as a musician, but on no account must she ask him the Mozart question. During the interview however, Paolo takes the opportunity to tell her his life story, including the answer to mystery.

The musician takes us back to his life as a little boy growing up in Venice in his papa’s barber shop, and recounts how he found a violin in his own home and his first and best teacher Benjamin.

The violin has story, a haunting traumatic past set against the background of the Holocaust. Michael Morpurgo’s moving tale of love, secrets and survival is bound together by the power of music in the hardest of times.

As the story unfolds the audience is taken on an extraordinary journey switching from moments of happiness and joy to human catastrophe in an inkling. A powerful adaptation that at its core champions hope, love and the pursuit of emotional truth against all the odds.

John Caird said: “I’m excited to be making my Barn Theatre debut with The Mozart Question. Michael Morpurgo’s deceptively simple story casts a powerful spell on the page. It will be a pleasure and a challenge to bring it to life on the stage. Though the subject could not be a darker one, Michael explores it with the lightest of touches and a deep empathy for his characters.    

The collision of great story-telling with great music provides a wonderful opportunity for actors and musicians to make theatrical magic together.”

Vicki Berwick said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be adapting Michael Morpurgo’s The Mozart Question for the stage. It’s an important story in these times, and one that reaches all ages. I’m so pleased the Barn were equally passionate about retelling this story.”

Michael Morpurgo said: “How is a new play made? Well, you need a story.  You need an inspired playwrite and a terrific director who both love the story, and a theatre producer who also believes in it totally, all of them determined to create a great play.

It is the most important story I have ever written, about the best and most beautiful and most heavenly that is in us, and the worst and most wicked and most hellish too. I have no doubt the Barn Theatre is creating a play worthy of the immensity of the tragedy, a play that reflects the power of music to heal, to bring reconciliation and peace in a troubled world.”

The Mozart Question is at The Barn Theatre 21st May to 27th June 2020.

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