The Vice [La Morsa]
Other Plays by Luigi Pirandello
Pirandello, Luigi (Italian playwright, novelist, short story writer, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 1934, b. Agrigento, southern Sicily, Italy, June 28, 1867-died via Bosio, Rome, December 10, 1936), “The Vice [La Morsa],”
a __-minute drama in English, translated by William Murray, set in a room in the Fabbri house, in a small provincial town, Italy, 11:00 a. m., 1910,
© 1898 by Luigi Pirandello;
• in Ariel (Rome) March 20, 1898, under the title “L’epilogo”;
• also, in Noi e il Mondo (Rome), March 1, 1914, in its present form;
• also, containing William Murray’s translation of Luigi Pirandello’s, “At the Exit [All’ uscita],” a __-minute drama, 3m1f + extras; “I’m Dreaming, But Am I? [Sogno (ma forse no)],” a __-minute drama, 2m1f; “The Imbecile [L’imbecille],” a __-minute comedy, 3m1f +5 extras; “Chee-Chee [Cecé],” a __-minute lighthearted drama, 2m1f; or “The Man with the Flower in His Mouth [L’uomo dal fiore in bocca],” a __-minute drama, 2m1f;
• also, in Pirandello’s One-Act Plays, translated into English from the original Italian by William Murray (New York: Samuel French, Inc., 1970), ISBN 0-573-60039-2;
• script/rights available from Samuel French, Inc., 45 West 45th Street, New York, New York 10010-2751, U.S.A., telephone 212-206-8990, fax 212-206-1429, http://www.samuelfrench.com; Samuel French, Inc. 7623 Sunset Boulevard, Dept. W, Hollywood, California 90046-2785, U.S.A., telephone 213-876-0570; fax 323-876-6822; Samuel French, Inc. 11963 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, California 91604, U.S.A., telephone 818-762-0535, Samuel French (Canada) Ltd. 100 Lombard Street, Dept. W, Toronto, Ontario M5C 1M3, Canada, telephone 416-363-3536, fax 416 363-1108; Samuel French, Ltd. 52 Fitzroy Street-Dept. W, London W1P 6JR, England, telephone (44207) 387-9373, fax (44207) 387-2161, http://www.samuelfrench-london.co.uk/sf/Pages/acted/sfactingeds.html, SF 24601.
Andréa Fabbri (m); Guilia (f), Andréa’s wife; Antonio Serra (m), Andréa’s lawyer; Anna (f), a domestic servant.
Giulia Fabbri has been having an affair with her husband’s lawyer, Antonio Serra. Giulia’s husband, Andrea, discovers the affair and confronts her. Giulia struggles with the guilt and responsibility she feels as she watches her marriage and life disintegrate.
• La Morsa, written between 1895 and 1897, is thought to be Pirandello’s first dramatic work. Published originally as a short story, “L’epilogo,” in Ariel (Rome, Italy), March 20, 1898, La Morsa appeared as a play in Noi e il Mondo, March 1, 1914.
• Premiered by the Teatro minimo company, Metastasio Theatre, Rome, Italy, December 9, 1910, directed by Nino Mattoglio.
• “Luigi Pirandello(1867-1936) was born in Girgenti, Sicily. He studied philology at Rome and at Bonn and wrote a dissertation on the dialect of his native town (1891). From 1897 to 1922 he was professor of aesthetics and stylistics at the Real Istituto di Magistere Femminile at Rome. Pirandello's work is impressive by its sheer volume. He wrote a great number of novellas which were collected under the title Novelle per un anno (15 vols., 1922-37). Of his six novels the best known are Il fu Mattia Pascal (1904) [The Late Mattia Pascal], I vecchi e i giovani (1913) [The Old and the Young], Si gira (1916) | [Shoot!], and Uno, nessuno e centomila (1926) [One, None, and a Hundred thousand]. But Pirandello's greatest achievement is in his plays. He wrote a large number of dramas which were published, between 1918 and 1935, under the collective title of Maschere nude [Naked Masks]. The title is programmatic. Pirandello is always preoccupied with the problem of identity. The self exists to him only in relation to others; it consists of changing facets that hide an inscrutable abyss. In a play like Cosí é (se vi pare) (1918) [Right You Are (If You Think You Are)], two people hold contradictory notions about the identity of a third person. The protagonist in Vestire gli ignudi (1923) [To Clothe the Naked] tries to establish her individuality by assuming various identities, which are successively stripped from her; she gradually realizes her true position in the social order and in the end dies «naked», without a social mask, in both her own and her friends' eyes. Similarly in Enrico IV (1922) [Henry IV] a man supposedly mad imagines that he is a medieval emperor, and his imagination and reality are strangely confused. The conflict between illusion and reality is central in La vita che ti diedi (1924) [The Life I Gave You] in which Anna's long-lost son returns home and contradicts her mental conception of him. However, his death resolves Anna's conflict; she clings to illusion rather than to reality. The analysis and dissolution of a unified self are carried to an extreme in Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore (1921) [Six Characters in Search of An Author] where the stage itself, the symbol of appearance versus reality, becomes the setting of the play. The attitudes expressed in L'Umorismo [Humour], an early essay (1908), are fundamental to all of Pirandello's plays. His characters attempt to fulfil their self-seeking roles and are defeated by life itself which, always changing, enables them to see their perversity. This is Pirandello's humour, an irony which arises from the contradictions inherent in life. [From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969]."—Luigi Pirandello - Biography, http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1934/pirandello-bio.html, accessed July 6, 2008.
• Research could include Luigi Pirandello’s Le Voci dei Premi Nobel italiani, sound recording, Edizione fuori commercio (n. p.: Discoteca di Stato DSM 251, 196_?), LCCN 75-760139, p. 2 s. 12 in. 33 1/3rpm, recordings of the voices of Guglielmo Marconi, Enrico Fermi, Emilio Segre, Daniele Bovet, Giulio Nata, Grazia Deledda, Luigi Pirandello, and Salvatore Quasimodo with introductions and commentary by Angelo Monteverde.
guilt, infidelity, marriage, responsibility.