Right You Are (if you think so)

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Right You Are (If You Think So)
Written by Luigi Pirandello
Date premiered 1917
Original language Italian
Genre Drama


Right You Are (If You Think So) (Italian: Così è (se vi pare), also translated as It Is So, If You Think So) is an Italian drama by Luigi Pirandello. The play is based on Pirandello's novel La signora Frola e il signor Ponza, suo genero.

It premiered 18 June 1917 in Milan. The theme is conflicting versions of the truth told by the main characters, each of whom claims the other is insane. Lady Frola claims that her son-in-law Mr. Ponza went insane when her daughter, his wife, died four years ago, then remarried. Lady Frola claims he fantasizes that his new wife is his old wife. Mr. Ponza claims that Lady Frola could not accept her daughter’s death, went mad, and only survives by believing that his second wife is her living daughter. The townspeople attempt to learn the truth as the play progresses.

Characters[edit]

  • Lamberto Laudisi
  • Lady Frola
  • Mr. Ponza, her son
  • Lady Giulia Ponza
  • Councillor Agazzi
  • Lady Amalia, his wife and sister of Lamberto Laudisi
  • Dina, their daughter
  • Lady Sirelli
  • Mr. Sirelli
  • Mr. Prefct
  • Commissioner Centuri
  • Lady Cini
  • Lady Nenni
  • a waiter in the Agazzi's home
  • other Ladies and Gentlemen

Plot[edit]

Mr. Ponza and his mother-in-law, Lady Frola, escape to a quiet provincial town after a terrible earthquake in Marsica. It is rumored Ponza is married, because no one has ever seen Mrs. Ponza. The Ponzas stay on the top floor on a nearby block, while Lady Frola lives in a stylish apartment. The trio is subject of many rumours. Towspeople see Giulia Ponza as a monster who prevents her mother-in-law from leaving the house. Mr. Ponza's boss, Councillor Agazzi, so goes the prefect to bring out the truth and clarify the matter. Lamberto Laudisi defends the new arrivals from the curiosity of the village, stating the impossibility of knowing each other and, more generally, absolute truth.

Lady Frola becomes the object of a real investigation on the life of her family. Mr. Ponza is under the same investigation, during which declares the insanity of his mother-in-law. He explains Lady Frola went insane after the death of her daughter Lina (his first wife), and he convinced Lady Frola that Giulia (his second wife) is actually her daughter and is still alive. To preserve the illusion, they had to take a number of precautions that made everyone suspicious.

The townspeople are stunned but reassured by the revelation. Lady Frola soon learns of Ponza's story and claims he is crazy, at least when considering Giulia as his second wife. Lady Frola said her daughter Lina Ponza had been in an asylum, and she would not have accepted at home if they had not performed the second marriage, as if it were a second woman. Everyone is stunned, not knowing what to think, except Laudisi, who bursts into laughter. The search for evidence to determine the truth is actually the opportunity to Laudisi to unravel the meaning of this, while arguing with his own reflection in the mirror:

Oh dear! Who is insane among us? Oh I know, [pointing at himself] I say YOU! Who goes there, face to face, we know well the two of us. The trouble is that, like I do, others do not see you ... For others you become a ghost! And you see his as insane? Regardless of the ghosts who haunt them, they are running, full of curiosity, behind the ghosts of others!

In an attempt to solve the riddle, Councillor Agazzi arranges a meeting between mother-in-law and son-in-law: the resulting scenes are full of frenzied violence, in which Mr. Ponza screams at his mother-in-law. He later apologizes for his attitude, saying that it was necessary to play the part of the madman to keep alive the illusion of Mrs. Frola.

In the last act, after a vain search for evidence among the survivors of the earthquake, they seek out the first wife of Mr. Ponza at Agazzi asylum. They find a woman with her face covered by a black veil, who claims to be the daughter of Mrs. Frola and the second wife of Mr. Ponza. She says, " I am the one to be believed." Laudisi, after a laugh, says with a look of mocking challenge: " And now, gentlemen, who speaks the truth? Are you happy?"

Sources[edit]

  • Baccolo, L. L. Pirandello. Milan:Bocca. 1949 (second edition).
  • Di Pietro, L. Pirandello. Milano:Vita e Pensiero. 1950. (second edition)
  • Ferrante, R. Luigi Pirandello. Firenze: Parenti. 1958.
  • Gardair, Pirandello e il Suo Doppio. Rome: Abete. 1977.
  • Janner, A. Luigi Pirandello. Firenze, La Nuova Italia. 1948.
  • Monti, M. Pirandello, Palermo:Palumbo. 1974.
  • Moravia. A. "Pirandello" in Fiera Letteraria.Rome. December 12, 1946.
  • Pancrazi, P. "L'altro Pirandello" In Scrittori Italiani del Novecento. Bari:Laterza. 1939.
  • Pasini. F. Pirandello nell'arte e nella vita. Padova. 1937.
  • Virdia. F. Pirandello. Milan:Mursia. 1975.
  • Fabrizio Tinaglia.Leonardo Da Vinci, Luigi Pirandello e i filosofi della storia. Ricerche inedite e storia della filosofia. Milano.Lampi di Stampa.2008.

External links[edit]