With music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, ‘Nine’ is based on Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film; 8 ½.
Set in 1960s Venice, ‘Nine’ tells of famous Italian film director Guido Contini, facing a mid-life crisis as he struggles to revive his career after a series of flops. Whilst he attempts to shoot a film he cannot write a script for, Guido is forced to come to terms with the relationships he has with the many women in his life.
As his wife Luisa tries to talk to him, Guido’s mind is preoccupied with the voices of the women he has loved and from whom he once took inspiration for his creative life. At times, Guido’s imagination and his reality are almost indistinguishable.
Overcome by the tensions of holding together a failing marriage, a dying career and a demanding mistress, Guido plunges back into memories of his mother and himself at nine years old. The vision leads him onto his encounters with the prostitute Sarraghina, whom he went to as a curious child to ask about love. Her response, to ‘Be Italian’ and her absence after he returned to her from the punishment from his mother, reminds forty-year old Guido of the vanishing nature of love and the cause of his fugitive heart.
Back in the present, famous film star and Guido’s muse and protégée, Claudia, has flown from Paris to be with him. Calling him her ‘charming Casanova’, Guido takes his last inspiration from her and creates a musical, cast with all the women in his life.
The improvised creation which ensues is a shocking collision between Guido’s reality and imagination and Guido is forced to come to terms with his reality.