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Istituto Italiano di Cultura Sydney

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Level 4, 125 York Street

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Comedy in three acts by Stefano Pirandello

Celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Luigi Pirandello's birth

The Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney is pleased to announce the publication of the translation into English of the comedy in three acts Un padre ci vuole (Everyone Needs a Father) by Stefano Pirandello, playwright and writer, eldest son of Nobel Prize for Literature Luigi. The project, promoted by the Italian Cultural Institute, stems from the collaboratoin with Wai-te-ata Press, Victoria University in Wellington, which enriches with this rare publication its catalogue of literary and theatre work translations, which is one of its specialties; the Istituto di Storia dello Spettacolo Siciliano (Institute for the History of Sicilian Theatre), based in Catania, Italy, headed by the curators of the publication, Sarah Zappulla Muscarà and Enzo Zappulla, and the Department of Italian Studies of the University of Sydney. The book, containing both the Italian and the English text, includes an introdution by the Director of the Institute, Donatella Cannova, and an essay by the two researchers from Catania, curators of the three volumes comprising all the theatre works written by Stefano, published by Bompiani in 2005. The translation into English has been performed by Barbara McGilvray.

The eldest son of Luigi and Maria Antonietta Portolano, both born in Girgenti (later called Agrigento), Stefano Pirandellowas born in Rome on the 14th of June 1895. The family experienced many difficulties due to the fragile psychic condition of Maria Antonietta. Stefano, who attended the national boarding school, remained very close to his father, with whom he also started to share cultural interests. In 1914 he enrolled in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Rome, cultivating at the same musical interests. At the end of the war (during which he spent some time in internment camps, first in Mathausen and then in Bohemia) Stefano went back to Rome and started collaborating with several magazines, using almost always the nom de plume Stefano Landi. Once returned home he started actively supporting his father’s literary career, becoming his secretary, administrator and literary agent, but also collaborator and co-author, writing, among other works, screenplays drawn from Luigi Pirandello’s works. In 1923 Stefano made his theatre debut with the drama in one act I bambini (The children). In 1924 he was one of the promoters of the “Teatro d’Arte” or “Teatro dei Dodici”, directed by Luigi Pirandello, endeavour that came to an end 1928 due to grave financial problems. Stefano’s literary production continued in the following years with literary works of various kinds. Between January and June 1936 the comedy Un padre ci vuole (Everyone needs a father) was staged, a dramatization of an inverted relationship where the son, Oreste, to the detriment of his own identity, protects his father who, after a family tragedy, gets involved in a new love relationship. Also the ensuing works by Stefano Pirandello deal regularly with the theme of the father-son relationship, works such as L’innocenza di Coriolano (Coriolanus’ Innocence) and Icaro (Icarus) (both written in 1939). Stefano Pirandello’s relentless activity as author and playwright continued until his death in Rome in 1972.

An extraordinary emotional connection and business relationship existed between Luigi Pirandello and his eldest son Stefano. The main reason for this exceptional nature was on one hand the special literary symbiosis between Stefano’s and his father’s work; on the other hand, as testified by several writings, letters and unpublished documents, it is also true that Luigi owed a lot to his son. A valuable secretary, administrator and collaborator of his father, Stefano was an elegant, rather shy writer who was strongly influenced by his father, but nonetheless autonomous and original from the very beginning. His work allows us not only to gain precious insights into the tormented story of a family so torn apart by the insanity of mother and wife Antonietta Portulano, but also to explore the deep, contradictory, existential and artistic universe of Luigi Pirandello.

The book will be presented by Donatella Cannova, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Giorgia Alù, Chair of the Department of Italian Studies of the Sydney University, and Antonia Rubino, Associate Professor within the same department.

Free entrance. Limited seats.

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Istituto Italiano di Cultura Sydney

Sydney

Level 4, 125 York Street

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Australia

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