Thursday, 17 January 2002

Luigi Pirandello: Right You Are! (If You Think So) (1918)

Translation: Frederick May, 1962
Edition: Penguin, 1969
Review number: 1044

This particular play takes a different view of Pirandello's general theme of play-acting from most of them. Instead of being about the actors themselves, it is about a group of people trying to work out what the truth is about others. Someone new has recently moved into town, and has established his mother in law in a flat away from the family home, something regarded as faintly scandalous - what could possibly be the reason for excluding her from the household? Town busybodies set out to find out the truth, only to discover that the mother in law tells one story, while her son in law tells another incompatible with it; and because of a natural disaster in their native city, it is impossible to find out which is true.

Pirandello manages to make us feel curiousity about the issue, while at the same time making us feel ashamed to be as insensitively inquisitive as the characters on stage. The play is funny even on the page, and would be hilarious on stage. Right You Are! (If You Think So) may not be his most profound drama, but is certainly entertaining.

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