Pirandello's Wife

a two act dark comedy


After 25 years of marriage, she was committed to an asylum.

Here, she attempts to tell “her truth”: life as wife of a famous writer.

available in both drama and movie versions

Married for 25 years to Italy’s famous playwright, Antonietta spent the last 40 years of her life in an asylum. Using the inmates as actors, Antonietta, attempts to tell her story, that of a marginalized woman, to an unhearing world. Her effort is, however, prevented by the Director of the Institution who insists on the accepted version of life in the Pirandello household.

from the screenplay

GINA (a patient)

Why your story and not mine?  No husband, no children for Gina.  Just the strait-jacket and padded cell when the moon is full!  Stories!  Dramas!  We all have them!  And when we die, our stories die with us.


But mine doesn't. The lies continue after my death.  Will people know the woman who lost her fortune because of the men in her life?  No.  The mother who raised her children though there was not a lira in the house?  No.  Whenever people read of Luigi Pirandello, they’ll only know me as the wife who raced through the streets of Rome in her jealous rage.

view images from the Alley Theatre Production




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DIRETTORE RIPIENO:  Portulano?  Who knows Antonietta Portulano?  We use her married name:  Antonietta Pirandello, our most famous patient.  We'll provide the Governor and other distinguished guests notes about her husband's plays and the honors he received.   What is the name of the play?  Pirandello's Wife?

SISTER PHILOMENA:  No, Signore.  She wants it called, “A Woman Called Antonietta.”

DIRETTORE RIPIENO: There are thousands of Antoniettas, Sister!  Only one was married to Luigi Pirandello, Italy's greatest twentieth-century playwright.  We use his name in the title.