Maraini, Dacia (Italian playwright, director, novelist), “Dialoghi di una prostituta con un cliente [Dialog of a Prostitute with a Client],”
a 70-minute drama in Italian,
1m1f, script/rights explained below. Cited by Paul Meijer via e-mail paultilb@WORLDACCESS.NL, April 21, 1995.
Dramatis Personae Manila (f), mid-20s, a sex seller; Client (m), mid-20s, a buyer.
Synopsis “A mid-twenties client visits Manila, a prostitute his age. The visit is not exactly what he has expected. Manila reacts totally unexpectedly. Whereas he supposes that she will give some kind of surrogate love by doing exactly as he tells her, she does not. She forces him to talk about his relationships, with his parents, his girlfriend, a former school chum. The revelations generate in her great anger, in that he represents the Italian machismo. Despite her anger, she likes him, in part because his good looks remind her of a man she once loved and by whom she got a child. Then he drops the macho role he had thought he had to play. However, as soon as she responds in a tender way, he reverts, insulting her, calling her a whore and more. Eventually they bed. She takes the initiative, more or less raping him. The client, relieved and proud that ‘he made it,’ evades recognizing her dominance. Now suddenly self-confident, he wants to dominate and suggests that he will take care of her (as a pimp). He even threatens her with a knife when he finds that he has no real power over her.
Comment Gavin Craig, who has directed this show, adds, “I
cannot tell you. I even don’t know the original Italian title of the play.
The Company that asked me to direct it, had ‘found’ the (in Flemish-Dutch)
translated script in a secondhand book shop. This translation was used
by a Flemish production of the play in 1981. (By the Brialmont Theatre
in Mechelen, Belgium, a company that does no longer exist). Before starting
the rehearsals I did a lot of research and among others I traced the translator
in Antwerp. He told me that his translation was based upon another translation,
namely in French, and in that translation there was no original title of
the play mentioned. But I assume that it is a literal translation of the
title in French and Dutch: Dialogue of a prostitute and her client. About
the playwright: Maraini was born in 1936 and grew up in Milano. She was
a student of the university there. She debuted in 1962 with L‘eta del
Maleserre (Years of Discomfort). Upon this novel a film has
been made in 1968. Maraini was for her novel rewarded with the Prix Formentera
(the most important literary award of Italy). Most Italians thought the
book was shocking because of the theme: women’s lib, but still more because
Maraini does not beat around the bush. I am afraid that this is all [the]
information I can pass on to you. I only have the Dutch script, edited
by myself. Perhaps an Italian internetter can be of any assistance. Maraini
is still alive and as far as I know still lives in Milan, Italy. BTW [by
the way]: although the play has been written in the eighties: the plot
and the text haven’t become old-fashioned or outdated. On the contrary.
Problem is that I do not know if the play has been translated in English
and what the correct English title is. However it is a one act that I love:
very complicated to direct and to play but it is more than worth the trouble.”
Paul Meijer adds, “The Italian playwright captures male dualism about women:
whore versus madonna. Furthermore, it is a play about manipulation.” Meijer,
further, says it is published in English and “sounds very interesting.”
• In 1997, Maraini directed and starred as Narratrice in her own
three-character Suor Juana at Snia Viscosa, Via Prenestina 173,
Roma, Italia. • Research could include numerous Websites discussing
this playwright and novelist, such as Dacia Maraini,
http://www.women.it/les/libri/maraini.htm, accessed March 27, 1999.
Themes clientele, commitment, compliance, dominance, evasion, expectation, gender conflict, handsomeness, impotence, intercourse, knife, lost love, machismo, parentage, parenting, pimping, prostitution, rape, relationship, role, school, self-confidence, sex, surrogate love, threat, visit, women’s lib.
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Page updated May 19, 1998, and March 27, 1999, by the site Webmaster.