In a remote village in Eastern Europe, around 1900, the young Motl Mendl is entranced by the flickering silent images on his father's cinematograph. Bankrolled by Jacob, the ebullient local timber merchant, and inspired by Anna, the girl sent to help him make moving pictures of their village, he stumbles on a revolutionary way of storytelling. Forty years on, Motl - now a famed American film director - looks back on his early life and confronts the cost of fulfilling his dreams. How had a twenty-two-year - old pretentious layabout made a discovery that would elude every other cinematic pioneer for years to come? Nicholas Wright's (The Last of the Duchess, Mrs Klein, The Reporter, His Dark Materials) new play is as funny as it is fascinating - a tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood's golden age. It premiered at the National Theatre, London, in 2012, in a production directed by Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys, The Habit of Art), with Antony Sher in the title role of the timber merchant.
Nicholas Wright's other plays include Mrs Klein, Vincent in Brixton, The Reporter, Rattigan's Nijinsky, The Last of the Duchess, and his phenomenally successful adaptation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Other adaptations include Three Sisters, Therese Raquin and Lulu.