‘O tuono ‘e marzo (1993)

Directed by Enzo Sirna


Nannina……….Lina De Borrello
Giulietta……….Maria Sannino
MimAi??……….Giuseppe Fulgaro
Turillo……….Bruno Napolitano
Cavaliere Teodoro Morzetta……….Giorgio Conte
Don Saverio Borzillo……….Luciano Pinto
Sofia (sua sorella)……….Carmela Briguglio
Felice Sciosciammocca……….Enzo Sirna
Alfonso Trocoli……….Giuseppe Tizzano
Ciccillo……….Nick Cappa
Marietta……….Angela Signorile


Guest appearance……….Giorgio Manfredi

ai???Essere pazzo come marzoai??? is a popular saying in Italian which in English means ai???to be as mad as a March hareai???. Italians also speak of ai???marzo pazzoai??? because the month of March is notorious for its unpredictable stormy weather and especially its thunder-claps. For this reason, the connection has been made between this month and people who suffer from a changeable and capricious, even neurotic personality. Such a person is often on edge and , in fact, if one is accused of being ai???born in the month of Marchai??? (ai???essere nato di marzoai???), regardless of the exact date of birth, it is a way of hinting at oneai??i??s questionable nervous condition.

These ideas and prejudices were perhaps at the back of Vincenzo Scarpettaai??i??s mind when he wrote ‘O tuone ai???e marzo (which literally means ai???the Thunder-clap of Marchai???) which was first performed in Rome at the Teatro Quirino in 1912. In fact, it is just such a thunder-clap during a night in March twenty-five years before the play begins that gives rise to the convulsions and confusion which, in a variety of ways, overtake the characters in this play. Sofia, a sensitive young woman, was seduced by a stranger on that March night in 1895, precisely as a consequence of a particularly loud thunderclap. Since then she has been suffering from its effects in terms of her shattered nerves and also because she has had to hide from public view the child born as a result. She has had to watch over this son of hers from afar but now has finally found a way to bring him closer to her. Sofia has also been trying to trace the young man who seduced her, however, another unscrupulous and selfish man, called Turillo, interferes with her plan. It is this ai???double playai???, so to speak, between Sofia and her desire to find her sonai??i??s father on the one hand, and Turillo with his own selfish plan on the other hand which propels the action of the play towards its inevitable conclusion.

The characters in this play are fairly standard in the context of the large repertoire of plays which the two Scarpettaai??i??s (father and son) created over many years. Many of these were adapted from salacious and witty French pieces which went collectively under the name of pochade. However, Vincenzo (just as his father before him) always managed to add a personal twist apart from the originality of language and dialogue, of course. In the case of Eduardo, it was the new character of Felice Sciosciammocca who was used over and over again in his plays though different guises and with different character traits. In the case of this play, we see a new and intriguing character in Turillo, a poor but resourceful character who can be extremely cunning when there is something to be gained from situations as they unfold around him. Turillo is a barefaced liar whose ignorance is quite evident to us, but he does not let this deter him and, in fact, he seems able to easily fool those around him into believing whatever they want to believe; he simply supports the suppositions of others and then improvises his way through any obstacles and potential objections as they arise, resorting to clichAi??s and outright lies to support his empty claims which he hopes will secure him a comfortable living. It is his dual nature as well as his conscious struggle for survival in an uncaring world ai??i?? in which he features both as victim and oppressor ai??i?? which bring Turillo close to those other better know characters from the Commedia dellai??i??arte, Arlecchino and Pulcinella, and just as these two can endear themselves to us while still managing to survive, so does Turillo in this fast paced and enthralling comedy of errors and farcical intrigue.