Natale in casa Cupiello (1994)

Directed by Luciano Pinto


Luca Cupiello……….Bruno Napolitano
Concetta, sua moglie……….Carmela Briguglio-Brodzki
Tommasino, loro figlio, detto Nennillo……….Gianpaolo Casali
Ninuccia, la figlia……….Maria Sannino
Nicola, suo marito……….Giuseppe Fulgaro
Pasqualino, fratello di Luca……….Luciano Pinto
Raffaele, portiere……….Nick Cappa
Vittoria Elia, amante di Ninuccia……….Daniele Ruiu
Il dottore ……….John Kinder
Carmela……….Nicoletta Ciampini
Olga Pastorelli……….Lucia Conte
Luigi Pastorelli……….Peppino Tizzano
Alberto……….John Conte
Armida Romanello……….Claudia Vecchio
Rita……….Serena Carli
Maria……….Catherine Biagi

Natale in casa Cupiello is focused on Luca Cupiello, a simple but kind-hearted man who is very endearing in his ways and ideas, even if they are unrealistic. Lucaai??i??s charm is all in his ingenuous belief that the world and the others around him are just like him. However, when he finds out how things really are, his ideal world collapses and the suffering this causes is too much for him to bear. Lucaai??i??s attachment to the manger or ai???pressebbioai???, as he calls it, symbolises his ideal sense of life. Luca often seems ai???absentai??? from the world of other and their petty and even absurd affairs and cares, and clings instead to his manger. The others, for their part, are also distant from Lucaai??i??s ai???pressebbioai???; there is a great gulf separating him from everyone else around him who regard him mostly as unimportant and ineffectual. The world he believes in is child-like: a world in which mutual understanding, love and joy ai??i?? the ideal spirit of Christmas as represented by the manger ai??i?? reign supreme. Maybe he needs to believe in these things because of the selfishness and incomprehension he experiences within his own family, and this causes him to withdraw into his private dream-world. His abstraction from reality, however, lacks the kind of imagination and self-awareness which might have helped him to see things more clearly and so cope in a concrete way with lifeai??i??s problems.

Lucaai??i??s wife, Concetta, is a very practical woman who has discovered through experience that her husband would rather she dealt with family matters, because he canai??i??t cope. She has kept him in the dark about serious matters; itai??i??s perhaps her way of coping with this man whom she loves, even if sheai??i?? canai??i??t help blaming him for most of their problems. The married daughter, Ninuccia, has made a mess of her marriage but she blames her parents for having arranged this marriage against her will. Their layabout son, Nennillo, is well on the way to becoming a petty thief or worse. But Luca down not know or perhaps does not want to face up to these things; he mostly blames his wife for failing in her duty to bring up the children properly and glosses over his own failings on this issue. He still illudes himself that his family can live a life of peace and joy, as it may have been in earlier years when the children were much younger and his family was united. Lucaai??i??s almost blissful lack of awareness, however, leads him to commit a series of unconscious blunders, which have disastrous consequences for him. Firstly, he hands over to his son-in-law his daughterai??i??s letter in which she confesses to her husband her intention to run off with her lover, and then he invites the lover himself to the family dinner on Christmas Eve. The resulting altercation between love and husband eventually lead to the break-up of his daughterai??i??s marriage, and Luca must now face this unbearable reality.

When finally forced to confront the family crisis and its inevitable sequel, Luca is crushed by such a revelation. Events beyond his awareness and control have conspired to turn the much-awaited central event of the play, the Christmas dinner, into a total reversal of what it meant for him. Luca now arouses pity in us for the inevitable defeat of his ideals and illusions.

In a final ironic though bitter twist to his life, even as he is on his deathbed, Luca literally stumbles into one last Pulcinella-like blunder. He mistakes his daughterai??i??s lover for his estranged son-in-law and forces the two lovers to join hands and promise never to part. We cannot laugh now at this last blunder as we had done in the previous two acts; the end of Luca Cupiello evokes pathos for such a character, whose illusions have been crushed so totally by fate and the selfishness of others.