Unreserved Seat €33
The Kitchen Company
Jean Dell and Gerald Sibleyras
Un petit jeu sans conséquence
Translation by Michele Ainzara
Directed by Eleonora d’Urso
Sets and Costumes Roberta Airoldi
Original Music Maria Pierantoni Giua
Lighting Raffaele Perin
Meeting with The Kitchen Company Thursday 25 June, 7 p.m.
Caffè Letterario, Palazzo Mauri
Gerald Sibleyras and Jean Dell’s A little game without consequence is a highly comic play, a perfect vehicle for five young characters of roughly twenty-six years of age. As a consequence of an innocent lie intended as a joke, they find themselves swept along in a domino effect that radically changes their lives.
The title itself is ironic. The game to which it refers is initiated by Chiara, one of the main characters. At the outset of the play she introduces her “innocent little game,” unleashing a succession of events and unexpected developments with catastrophic consequences.
The play’s premise is quite simple: The family of one of the main characters (Bruno) has sold its country house and is throwing a party to celebrate. Bruno’s fiancée (Chiara) is tired of hearing Bruno’s cousin (Patrizio) talk about their relationship. He has always been a fierce defender of the couple but he is also an extraordinary pain in the neck. As a joke, she tells him that her relationship with Bruno has come to an end. The news quickly leaps from guest to guest and Bruno, caught by surprise and despite his misgivings, finds himself going along with Chiara’s game. Both of them, however, are unaware of the far-ranging effects that her lie will have. For some time, in fact, certain of their friends had been waiting to see their engagement come to an end in order to take advantage of the situation.
This is where two other characters enter the play: Chiara’s best friend, Alessia, and a childhood friend of Bruno’s (Sergio).
We discover that Alessia and Bruno were involved in a one-night stand and, since that moment Alessia has secretly been in love with him. Sergio, in the meantime, is playing dirty: Behind his mask as an upstanding young man and loyal family friend he is hiding a singular intention: He wants Chiara for himself.
Alessia and Sergio provide the fuel that ultimately brings Bruno and Chiara’s engagement to an end. They craftily weave their web around the increasingly confused characters, angling to obtain what they’ve wanted all along: Sergio plans to conquer Chiara in the tool shed and escape with her on his scooter, while Alessia imagines consoling Bruno until he passively accepts her attentions.
Patrizio, meanwhile, conducts the comic goings-on in his typical fashion. His endless jokes creates embarrassment, misunderstandings—and irreparable damage.
But the finale holds a little something special in reserve for the pedantic Patrizio as well. After the sale of the country house, he has nowhere else to go. Penniless ne’er-do-well that he is, however, he counts on being able to take full and shameless advantage of the situation to move in with Bruno and Chiara. Unfortunately, given the consequences of the “innocent game,” the two of them don’t live together anymore.
This typically French comedy, in the hands of five accomplished actors, reveals a theme that is both current and contemporary. No one can fail to relate to its reflection of typical couple dynamics or its exploration of the authenticity of relationships and the value of friendship—or of what happens when friendship is inexorably overtaken by desire.
The staging is simple with exterior sets for all three acts. Acts I and III take place on the stairs at the rear of the country house and Act II, in a meadow not far away.
( Eleonora d’Urso)