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Luigi Pirandello (Agrigento, 28 June 1867 - Rome, 10 December 1936) was an Italian dramatist, novelist, poet and short story writer. He was awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize in Literature for his "bold and brilliant renovation of the drama and the stage”.

 

Pirandello's works include novels, hundreds of short stories, and about 40 plays, some of which are written in Sicilian. Pirandello's tragic farces are often seen as forerunners of the Theatre of the Absurd. His life was conditioned by the presence of two women: Antonietta Portulano, his wife, mother of his three children, that went insane; Marta Abba, the young actress he met when he set the “Teatro d’Arte” drama Company and that would become his Muse and the best love of his last years. 

 

Marta Abba (Milan, 25 June 1900 - Milan, 24 June 1988) was an Italian actress.  After their meeting in 1925 and until his death in 1936, Marta Abba was the stimulus to the playwright Luigi Pirandello's creativity.

 

Marta Abba and Pirandello teamed up in 1925, and she appeared in many of his productions at the Rome Arts Theatre. In 1930, Abba founded her own theatrical company and specialised in staging the works of Pirandello and other European playwrights, under the direction of prestigious directors like Max Reinhardt . Her Broadway theatre debut was in the play Tovarich at the Plymouth Theatre, (10/15/1936 -8/1937). In January 1938 she married Severance Allen Millikin and settled down in Cleveland, Ohio until 1952, when she divorced and returned to Italy.

Director’s Notes

After the publication of the correspondence between Luigi Pirandello and Marta Abba, the principal conversations and debates were about their love, and especially their intimacy. 

 

Some scholars wrote about the influence of Marta’s presence in the Pirandello’s artistic life. Indeed, immediately it was clear that every plays after the end February 1925, when they met for the first time, were written only for her. But how much this presence was important for the artistic vision of the playwright, was object only of few studies.

 

Some months ago, I started to think at a script that gave the right importance of the role of Marta Abba not only in the private life (aspect less interesting, for me) but in the evolution of the Pirandello’s idea of Art and Life and in the styling changes too.

So, I’ve written a play, a drama, where some parts of the letters and other scripts are in alternation with some parts of the Pirandello’s plays written after 1925 (with my some annotations).

 

It’s incredible how it seems that from that day of February 1925, a long, uninterrupted conversation 
passed from this two great characters of the world cultural life, filling of words and ideas, poetry and philosophy all the letters, plays, stages. For Pirandello, Marta wasn’t only the beloved woman or the best actress for his characters: she was the Art and the Life, finally together.

 

About Pirandello many people has written, in every way. I hope that this play, in which Marta Abba come out as a great woman in a world very difficult for a woman, could be a little piece of the puzzle that was the theatrical and loving story between them.

 

© 2019 by Annalisa Rossi- ID&A International Drama & Arts 

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