Louis de Berniéres 1994 novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin that was later adapted for the big screen, has been made into a stage show. It’s a novel that spans over fifty years telling the story of the Greek island of Cephalonia in the most beautifully theatrical way.
I spoke to Eve Polycarpou, an actor and musician who has graced the stage countless times. She is playing the role of Drosoula who is a widow on the island. “My character is a survivor,” Eve said. “Drosoula is a voice of the island,” Representing the unbroken spirit of Greece, Drosoula is a strong woman and passionate mother.
“When I first went in for the audition I read the script and the story really connected with me as I come from a Greek Cypriot background,” she said. “My mum passed away 6 months ago and my father a few years before. I felt like I needed to honour them somehow and this piece makes me think of them so much. That for me has really helped me with my approach to Drosoula.
“It is based on the book and is much closer to the book than the film,” Eve explained. “When I first read Rona Munro’s adaptation, I was just so taken with it. I couldn’t put it down and I was so drawn in by her writing.” Set at the beginning of World War Two when the Italians and Germans have invaded the island of Cephalonia, the town are struggling, but the audience are taken on a journey through these multiple stories of love.
“At the end of the day it is all to do with love and different forms of love. It is love that gives everybody hope that the world could possibly be a better place despite the horrificness of actions of people within war,” Eve said. “At the same time this love sparkles and helps people to keep going, continue and carry on.”
Working with director Melly Still, Eve has been having the most sensational time getting to grips with her character and the beauty of the play. “I’ve played some phenomenal characters recently such as Abuela in Strictly Ballroom and before that Abuela in In The Heights, but they’ve all been grandmothers” Eve said. “As an older woman you tend to have these particular roles but it is really interesting to be able to play different roles and tackle these cultural differences.”
What really brings the story to life is the moving use of music interwoven throughout the narrative. “Our lead Alex who plays Captain Corelli has learnt the Mandolin especially for the show, he is just brilliant I am gobsmacked by him,” Eve expressed. “The music in the show feels so authentic and really takes you to Cephalonia.”
“I hope that the audience are transported in the way that I feel transported into these character’s world. I think that they will go away thinking that love can do so much, the world the way it is at the moment is pretty horrific internationally, nationally, locally and sadly within people’s homes. I think the message more than anything is to try and look for love beyond it all,” Eve said.
“There is a beautiful quote in the show that is; ‘It starts with a tiny creature, the love of a tiny creature’and that in a way is one of the main heartening messages of the piece. I hope that everybody in the audience gets a sense of that and maybe we can all carry that message of the importance of love around in our pockets.”
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is currently touring the UK, tickets and information can be found on the website.