The Story of Edgardo Mortara [1/13/22]

The Mortara event will be hosted via Zoom on Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 6:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 986 5520 3605
Passcode: tcTKc7

Join us for a discussion of a new play about Edgardo Mortara, whose story has been reimagined by Carey Perloff, Artistic Director, Emerita, of the American Conservatory Theater and Graduate of Stanford University in Comparative Literature, inspired by David Kertzer’s “THE KIDNAPPING OF EDGARDO MORTARA” and Vittorio Messori’s “KIDNAPPED BY THE VATICAN ?”

Book cover of The kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara by Kertzer


One summer evening in 1858, the police showed up at the home of a Jewish family in Bologna, Italy, and took their six-year-old child. Authorities had discovered that the child, Edgardo Mortara, had been secretly baptized when he was a baby. Edgardo had fallen gravely ill and his Catholic nanny baptized him for fear that he would die a Jew and be locked out of heaven

Edgardo eventually became a priest, and died in 1940 in a Belgian monastery two months before the Nazi invasion. His cause galvanized freedom fighters across Europe and was closely bound up with the unification of Italy

Two recent books debate the case that is still very open. Carey Perloff  in person will tell us about her idea for a play based on this very challenging story.

Portrait of author Carey PerloffCAREY PERLOFF is a director, playwright, producer, book author and educator who served as Artistic Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco for 25 years (1992 to 2018). The youngest person ever chosen to lead a LORT theater, Perloff inherited an earthquake destroyed theater, a huge deficit, a struggling MFA program and a need to completely re-imagine the future of A.C.T. In addition to rebuilding the Geary Theater, reanimating ACT’s educational programs and creating decades of vigorous, culturally diverse programming saw ACT’s audiences grow and its work presented around the country, Perloff oversaw the creation of ACT’s second stage, The Strand. Her highly acclaimed book Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater (City Lights Press, 2015) explores many of the ideas and issues that emerged during her tenure at A.C.T. and shares the journey of a woman in a leadership field often dominated by men. Beautiful Chaos was selected as the One City One Book “Big Read” by the San Francisco Public Library.

While at A.C.T. Perloff collaborated often with the Italian community on such productions as NAPOLI MILLIONARIA and ENRICO IV. Her other recent play, BASTIANO OR THE ART OF RIVALRY, was developed on a residency at the Bogliasco Foundation in Liguria.”


Free for LDVS & Museo members. Suggested donation for general public is $10. Please use the donate bottom below.

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