saddleworth players filuminaThe last play of Saddleworth Players 2014-15 Season at the Millgate is Filumena by Eduardo de Filippo, which runs from 30th May to 6th June.

Better known for her on-stage performances, Sue Radcliffe makes her Millgate directorial debut with this, beautifully constructed comedy. Set in Naples, it tells of Filumena’s resourceful struggle to legitimise her three grown-up sons.

The Saddleworth Players are using an adaptation  by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall which was premiered in 1977 at the Lyric Theatre in London. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Colin Blakely and Joan Plowright it won The London Theatres Comedy of the Year award in 1978. Filumena  is de Filippo’s best-known work and arguably his finest comedy-drama, drenched in Neapolitan atmosphere and full of entanglements.

In the heat of late-1940s Naples, Filumena Maraturano lies on her deathbed awaiting her marriage to Domenico Soriano, the man who has kept her as his mistress for twenty-seven years. But no sooner has the priest completed the ceremony than Filumena makes a miraculous recovery. As he reels in shock, Domenico discovers that this brilliant, iron-willed woman has a few more surprises for him. Is Filumena a simple, illiterate woman who wants to create a family for her children, or a feral, opportunistic prostitute? Will Domenico, the selfish aged gigolo, learn to accept his responsibilities? Exploring themes of family, age and love, Filumena  exemplifies de Filippo’s trademark moral optimism and warmth, coupled with unflinchingly astute and humorous observation of his characters.

One of the most gifted dramatists of the contemporary Italian theatre, Eduardo de Filippo – in his more than fifty plays – discloses a fine craftmanship that owes a great deal to his acting experience. The many sketches and one-act plays he wrote for his own troupe and for others during his apprentice years grounded him in a twofold sense – in the practical knowledge of what works in the theatre, and in a tragicomic awareness of the fine line between illusion and reality.

Mostly written in Neapolitan dialect, his plays are invested with the infectious spirit of Pulcinella, with a core of matter-of-fact earthiness, a compound of love and mockery that characterises the Neopolitan temperament and the same folk spirit that gave rise to the commedia dell’arte tradition.

While the regional character and the key role of Neopolitan dialect in de Filippo’s works are lost in  translation (even into Italian), his work’s popularity abroad was assisted by a successful film version of Filumena Marturano by Vittorio de Sica -Marriage Italian Style (1964) starring Sophia Loren.

sadleworth players insaddleworth

Eduardo de Filippo

The performance of Filumena on Saturday June 6th is contributing to the 2015 Saddleworth Festival of the Arts.

For further information see: Saddleworth Players and Saddleworth Festival of Arts

The post Filumena: Marriage Italian Style appeared first on Diggle News.



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