by Eduardo De Filippo
Mariangela D’Abbraccio and Geppy Gleijeses
Gregorio De Paola
sets and costumes Raimonda Gaetani
music Theo Teardo
assistant director Marina Bianchi
with the support of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Carpi
production Gitiesse Artisti Riuniti directed by Geppy Gleijeses
in collaborazione with Spoleto 59 Festival dei 2Mondi
According to the longest, the most meticulous and beautiful commentary ever written by Eduardo, the most famous heroine of his theater appears on the set while the daylight is dimming. She is standing up at the threshold of her bedroom, her arms folded as an act of defiance: in her nightgown, bare feet in slippers, messy hair, with a few grey strands showing she is a woman of forty-eight and the «attitude of a wounded beast, ready to pounce on her opponent». Domenico Soriano is in the opposite corner of the room and the stage, as if in a boxing ring. He is a nice, solid and jovial fifty year old, who has enjoyed life thanks to the money of the bakery his father left him. As a youth he was called Don Mimì (like the pleasure-seeker son of Eduardo Scarpetta) and was famous for horses, women and tantrums. At the beginning he is there, pajama pants and jacket buttoned up quickly, «pale and convulsive in front of Filumena, that woman" who was a "nobody" treated by him almost like a slave for many years, and now holding him in the palm of her hand ». In the other two corners of the room, waiting – those who seem to be the "second set" of boxers who are about to face each other - there is Rosalia Solimene, a woman of the people who has always helped Filumena, and Alfredo Amoroso, «who recapitulates the whole past of his master».
Domenico is furious because Filumena, a former prostitute who has lived with him for years as the most patient and submissive of wives, has managed to extort a marriage, making him believe that she was on her deathbed. Then, after the wedding in articulo mortis (at the moment of death), she had jumped out of bed, completely recovered and fiercely pleased to have resumed her rightful place in that house which was thriving due to her contribution for so many years. She had decided to use that extreme stratagem because, after having endured so many affairs in silence, her man wanted to give her the boot, to marry a young twenty year old. And that was not all. With a startling revelation she told him that she had had three secret children, already grown-up, and in addition raised by a nurse thanks to the money stolen from him. He is raging against Filumena, and states that he was persuaded into marriage by fraud and thus obtains its annulment.
So the untameable Filumena falls back on another more subtle trick: one of the three young men is actually Domenico’s son. Which one? The woman leaves the house, her home, making off with the secret. Domenico, oppressed with the most distressing curiosity, begs her to reveal the truth; but in the meantime, he rediscovers all the human qualities of that woman. Therefore, not to abandon his son, he agrees to get rid of the girlfriend, to marry - this time for real - Filumena and to take the three young men home. But even when she has become his wife, Filumena will not reveal the secret. Mother of all three, she will not accept that one of them benefits from some privileges. Therefore, in the end, Domenico will accept them all serenely, repeating her words: «Children are children… And they are all equal... You’re right Filume’, you are right!»
Maurizio Giammusso from "Vita di Eduardo", Elleu Editions
Filumena Marturano – perhaps the best known and represented post-war Italian play abroad – has a central role in Eduardo De Filippo’s productions, ranking among the first texts of the Cantata dei giorni dispari, starting from Napoli milionaria!, which collects the most complex and problematic works filled with dramatic events, anxieties and hopes of a country and its people devastated by war.
Within the drama of Filumena, who refuses to reveal to her lover which of her three children brought into the world is actually his, De Filippo declared that he had intended to represent an allegory of Italy, which was wrenched and impoverished to a great extent, even morally, and prefigure the dignity and desire for liberation.