Originally produced by The Royal Shakespeare Company in 2016, Grasp The Nettle presents The Seven Acts of Mercy theatre production.
Bootle, the present day. A retired dock worker teaches his grandson, as around them a community is disintegrating under the pressure of years of economic and political degradation. With all he has left, a book of great works of art, he tries to open the boy’s eyes to the tragedy and beauty of the life he faces. And the boy reciprocates in the only way he knows.
Naples, 1606. Inside an unfinished church, a painting is emerging from the darkness. The Seven Acts of Mercy is Caravaggio’s masterpiece – and his first painting since he killed a man and fled Rome. As the artist works, he is fuelled by anger, self-loathing and his driving need to create a work that speaks of compassion in a violent world.
Playing out across a gap of 400 years, Anders Lustgarten’s visceral play confronts the dangerous necessity of compassion, in a world where it is in short supply.
This rehearsal and development production of The Seven Acts of Mercy is supported by Arts Council England and The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, by arrangement with Anders Lustgarten.