We ran an exploratory reading group session on Zoom on Friday 3rd April, in which 20 people took part. Our reading of Pirandello's Cosi e (se vi pare) - translated by Tony Kushner as Absolutely (Perhaps)! - in the end ran for about 3 hours what with chatting at the beginning and a brief break in the middle, and apart from anything else was a very congenial and jolly break from social distancing. And it was a fascinating and at times very funny play - a farce on the inaccessibility of 'truth' and identity, with its own example of enforced 'social distancing'. Experiencing it in our current situation felt a bit like gleefully careering round the airy corridors of an abandoned Palladian mansion somewhere on the Campania....
…a small-town civil servant is either his second wife (the first having died) or his first wife whom he has - deludedly/inadvertently - 'remarried' thinking she is someone else, after she returns to him following a breakdown. The former version of 'reality' is avowed to the curious townsfolk by the civil servant himself, the latter by his mother-in-law. Which one is mad of course depends on which version is true....and deciding that is complicated by the fact that both characters humour each other in their in-law's version of the reality. Eventually the wife herself appears. But she remains veiled and refuses to confirm either version, preferring to sustain the mystery as a necessary and adequate condition of the family's continuing equanimity. Almost a 'model' of theatre itself, perhaps, as the embodiment of ambiguous stories, the 'truth' of which is irrelevant, provided they are emotionally 'useful' (and even or especially if they are useful to different people in different ways)
All it took to take part was clicking on a forwarded link, and having a device with a camera and microphone. Scripts are forwarded for downloading to second devices if you have such, AND scripts are scrolled across the main screen if you have only one device.
We are already very excited to conduct the next one.
If you are interested in taking part, please contact Colin Ellwood via: firstname.lastname@example.org
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