Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Charming and captivating sums up Constellation Theatre Company’s rendering of ABSOLUTELY! {perhaps} -Pirandello’s  parable about meddlesome characters trying to figure out what is the true story behind the mysterious new family in town.

While Pirandello seems to play with the ideas of images and impressions for knowing the truth-- and makes short shrift of facts--he never discounts the reality of truth.  Ashley Ivey as Lamberto Laudisi guides the characters along, always reminding us of this  and the limits and fallacies in what we think we know.

 There are of course three sides to every story.  The play presents  two opposite but connecting answers with Michael Glenn and Kimberly Schraf as the the pivotal characters Signor Ponza and his mother-in-law Signora Frola.

 Can one be telling the truth? Can both be telling the truth?    Can both be lying?

While there is much disagreement among the characters, this play, on which every line hinges on the comic coordination of all the cast would not work if everyone was not in sync.  And that means the large cast of Lizzi Albert, Catherine Deadman, Matt Dewberry, Tyler Herman, Connor J. Hogan, Julie Garner, Julia Klavens, Toby Mulford, Sarah Pretz, and Teresa Spencer.

Did I forget to mention, the third possible explanation to the mystery?  For that you have to see the show.

Special kudos to the costume designer Kendra Rai.  (How does she do it to put together those great  outfits which speak for themselves!)

Constellation Theatre Company’s
ABSOLUTELY! {perhaps}
by Luigi Pirandello
a new adaptation by Martin Sherman
directed by Allison Arkell Stockman
1835 14th Street NW

This is an excerpt from the Nobel Prize speech for Pirandello:

The same relativity appears as an enigma in Così é (se vipare) (1918) [Right You Are (If You Think You Are)]. The play is called a parable, which means that its singular story makes no pretensions to reality.

 It is a bold and ingenious fabrication which imparts wisdom. The circumstances of a family, recently settled in a provincial city, become intolerable to the other inhabitants of the town. Of the three members of the family, the husband, the wife, and the mother-in-law, either the husband or the mother-in-law, each otherwise reasonable, must be viewed as seized with absurd ideas about the identity of the wife.

The last speaker always has the final say on the issue, but a comparison of the conflicting statements leaves it in doubt. The questionings and the confrontation of the two characters are described with great dramatic art and with a knowledge of the most subtle maladies of the soul. The wife should be able to resolve the puzzle, but when she appears she is veiled like the goddess of knowledge and speaks mysteriously; to each of the interested parties she represents what she must be in order for that person to preserve his image of her. In reality she is the symbol of the truth which no one can grasp in its entirety.

The play is also a brilliant satire on man's curiosity and false wisdom; in it Pirandello presents a catalogue of types and reveals a penetrating self-conceit, either partially or completely ridiculous, in those attempting to discover truth. The whole remains a masterpiece in its own right.