Alex Mugnaioni interview: 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin proves that love is possible under any circumstances'
Having transferred to the West End following previous successful runs at Rose Theatre Kingston, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is nearing the end of its voyage at the Harold Pinter Theatre.
The play is based on the popular Louis de Bernieres novel about a romance that develops during the Italian-German occupation of Cephalonia, and has been adapted for the stage by Rona Munro with direction by Melly Still.
Alex Mugnaioni plays the titular Captain in the show, having originated the role in the Rose Theatre production, and made his West End debut in the show. With just a few weeks left, we asked the actor a few questions about the show.
What is Captain Corelli’s Mandolin about?
It's a story of love and loss set during the Italian-German occupation of the Greek island of Cephalonia during the Second World War. I play Captain Corelli in the show, he’s an Italian army captain who meets a young woman when he is assigned to live in her father’s home during that occupation.
What makes Captain Corelli’s Mandolin so unique?
The story is unique because of how it approaches the conventional love story and does something completely different with it. The story contemplates many forms of love and how it may not always turn out how you planned.
However, if we're talking about the Mandolin itself, then Corelli would say it was irreplaceable, he loves it so much that he named it Antonia, the second half of himself.
Did you know the novel/film before you started work on the play? Does that affect how you approach your character?
I didn't know of either, no. Although I've now read the book about 4 times, it was a vital piece of research for me for the character because without the book the character wouldn't exist! I was able to pull so much detail from it because Louis did such an incredible job of writing believable human characters. I can only hope I've done the book justice.
Do you have a favourite moment in the story?
My favourite moments would give too much away! You'll have to come to see it...
What have audiences reactions to the production been?
Oh, they've been so positive. I feel really lucky to be sharing this story with them every week. I hope that they’re leaving the theatre with the feeling that love is possible under any circumstances and that war is utterly futile.
What would you say to someone to make them book a ticket to visit the Harold Pinter to see Captain Corelli’s Mandolin?
If you love the book, but even if you haven’t read it, this show is for you. It has a bit of everything! A truly epic war story that'll tug at your heart (mandolin) strings. There’s only a couple of weeks left to catch it while we’re in the West End, so make sure you don’t miss out.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin tickets are available now.