See Luigi Pirandello's rarely performed masterpiece, Liola, in a new version by Tanya Ronder at the National Theatre this summer.
This high-spirited drama by Pirandello defies expectations. It is not the intellectual whirlwind of his Six Characters in Search of an Author but takes us instead to the heart of a rural community where property and kinship provoke fierce passions.
Sicily, summer 1916. Gossiping and singing, the women gather to harvest old Simone's almond crop. He's the richest landowner in the district but he has no heir. Local lad Liolà, untroubled by convention, has fathered three little boys, each with a different mother, and that only intensifies Simone's anguish. When another of the girls falls pregnant, Simone is persuaded he might recognize the baby as his own. But he's forgotten the charms of his slighted young wife Mita, who is not so easily crushed.
Written in Sicilian dialect, Liola is rarely played in the English language. Tanya Ronder's new version is performed by an Irish cast and gypsy musicians. It's unexpected, funny and touching.