This is a one man show.

The Sicilian play “Tararà,” adapted by director Mario Gaziano, is a masterful amalgamation of three works by Nobel Prize-winning author Luigi Pirandello: the short story “La verità” (“The Truth,” 1912), “A birritta cu i ciancianeddi” (“Cap and Bells,” 1916), and “Il giuoco delle parti” (“The Rules of the Game,” 1918). Staged in the enchanting Il Circolo Empedocleo in Agrigento, where Pirandello himself allegedly rehearsed, the performance introduced English surtitles for the first time, along with bilingual Italian-English programs to provide context for the audience.

The character of Tararà, around whom the play revolves, commits the murder of his unfaithful wife not out of jealousy, but due to the relentless scrutiny of society, which compels him to act. This central theme—living one’s life to maintain appearances—captures Pirandello’s fascination with the absurdity of human existence.

The absurdity of the play is brought to life by the remarkable lead actor, Giuseppe Gramaglia. Dressed as a twentieth-century Sicilian countryman, Gramaglia masterfully conveys the chiaroscuro typical in Pirandello’s writing: the light-hearted madness in Tararà’s recounting of his jail experiences—three meals a day followed by a tasty mozzarella—juxtaposed with the seriousness of his brutal murder and subsequent life sentence. This uncomfortable paradox is no simple task for an actor to convey, yet Gramaglia does so effortlessly, even bursting into a cappella Sicilian folk songs with impressive skill and brilliance.

In true Pirandellian fashion, Gramaglia delves into the philosophical underpinnings of his character’s actions. He succeeds in making Pirandello’s intricate concepts accessible to both national and international audiences, a task often criticized by the author’s contemporaries.

The performance concludes with the Trio Folk band, led by Peppe Sciortino, playing a selection of folkloric songs that enrich the cultural atmosphere of the evening. This Sicilian serata is an event not to be missed, offering an immersive experience for those keen to explore Pirandello’s legacy in his hometown of Agrigento and to delve into Sicily’s rich theatrical heritage. It is highly recommended for anyone interested in learning more about Pirandello in his birthplace, or simply eager to discover Sicily’s fascinating theatrical traditions.

Teatro da Camera al Circolo Empedocleo
Agriento (Sicily)


Based on the novella ‘The Truth’ and two plays by Luigi Pirandello

Director, Mario Gaziano.
English surtitles by Enza De Francisci and Ruggero Bianchin.
Cast: Giuseppe Gramaglia.
Date: Saturday 28 June 2024