The Rules of the Game (play)

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The Rules of the Game (Italian: Il giuoco delle parti) is a play by Luigi Pirandello. It was written and first performed during 1918 (and first published in 1919) at the time when his wife was suffering from mental illness, but before she was committed to a mental hospital. It was first performed at the Teatro Quirino in Rome, with Ruggero Ruggeri as Leone. The Italian title means The Game of Roles, but the play is not usually published with that title in English.

In the play, the actors are rehearsing in Pirandello's better-known work Six Characters in Search of an Author.

Plot[edit]

The principal characters are Leone, his estranged wife Silia, and a man called Guido who is having an affair with Silia. Rather than allow himself to feel betrayed and angry, Leone chooses to empty himself of all emotion, becoming in his own words like an empty eggshell. He manipulates Guido into taking his place in a duel, in which Guido dies. Other characters include a group of drunken young men, who give Silia the opportunity for her scheming, and one of whom becomes the duellist; two friends of Leone, Bartelli and Dr Spiga; and Leone's servant, Philip.

Performances[edit]

The play has been translated into English by Robert Rietty. Performances in England include: