Filumena Marturano

a UT ITL 348 Production

Welcome to the website for the University of Texas Italian Drama Workshop Fall Production of Eduardo Filippo's Neapolitan classic, Filumena Marturano. From this site you can find  performance times, information about the cast, English synopses of the acts, as well as links and additional outside information you may find interesting. I hope you find this website useful, and we all look forward to seeing you at the shows. A presto.

A Little Bit of Background

          Eduardo de Filippo is an Italian playwright, actor, and director. He was born in 1900 in Naples. His father was a playwright and his mother a theatre costumier. He and his siblings—Peppino and Titina—joined the family business as children and eventually formed their own theatre company in 1932, “la compagnia del Teatro Umoristico i De Filippo” and soon brough their unique style to film. Though the troupe disbanded in 1944, de Filippo continued writing and acting.
          Throughout his life he wrote more than 60 works, acted in nearly as many films and directed more than two dozen films, in addition to his credits on the stage. Some of his most famous works include Natale in casa Cupiello (1931), Napoli milionaria (1945), Questi fantasmi (1946), and—generally considered his most famous work—Filumena Marturano (1946). The latter originated as a tribute to Titina and became one of her iconic roles. It has been adapted to stage and film multiple times all over the world.
          De Filippo is truly one of the greatest presences in Italian theatre history, recognized for his talent both in his home country and abroad. He was awarded honorary degrees from both the University of Birmingham (1977) and the University of Rome (1980).  He started a theatre school in Rome and in 1981 he was appointed senator for life. He continued to teach and perform up until a few months before his death in 1984. His works paint a picture of his home, Napoli, and present enduring themes and rich characters. His work was a gift to the world of theatre.

A Brief Hisotry of Naples

        Naples was founded about 600 BC as Neapolis (“New City”). Around 1884, the cholera epidemic aroused a spirit of reform. Napoli modernized water and transport systems in addition to other public works. Unfortunately, World War I’s arrival prevented further reformation.
      The Great Depression of the 1930s compounded the rise of Fascism in Italy. Naples—and all of Italy in general—shared the degradation of fascism, but Naples was among the cities that suffered the most, and took a long, tedious time to recover. Although wealthier families struggled to make do with little money and a small food supply, the less wealthy already knew how to navigate the black market of cheaper necessities.
       However, Naples was heavily bombed in the Second World War. It was first struck on November 1 1940, as part of a broader British campaign against the Italian forces in the southern Mediterranean. It was also a response to Italy’s declaration of war against Britain and France in earlier June. In September and October Italy invaded Egypt and then Greece.
     Air raids strikes destroyed Italian machinery in the South because initially, Naples wasn’t well prepared for air raids, even though Naples was an important node of Axis naval and land communication. There was a powerful German military presence in Naples and the region kept war machinery going up and down Italy.
     The largest raid occurred in August of 1943, and the raid destroyed the famous Santa Chiara church. Even after Italy fell to US and British forces, in October 1943, German bombing continued for weeks to destroy all communication, transportation, water, and power grids. They mined bridges and railroad tracks and sunk ships. Miraculously, the port of Naples opened just a week after its capture.
    In a symbol of rebirth, the church of Santa Chiara was rebuilt in 1953. The attribution of Napoli’s survival lies with the philosophy of the populace and the ability to passionately endure.