Critical comments for Mau – la posta in gioco. Di Paul Thomas

Dear Maurizio,

I send you this brief comment about your play, “La posta in gioco”, only in the hope that a reaction from someone who has read something you have written might afford you a little gratification and egotistical pleasure. Certainly, not a question of critical acumen.

In part, this is helped by the play itself, because there are no deep themes in its meaning to discuss. However, because I know something about your writing, I can say something about the differences from the past – which is always useful.

This last comment isn’t exactly true, because there is deeper insight in the 2 angels comments about the equilibrium in human relationships at the end – how what can be negative for one individual, can also be indirectly positive, because it creates harmony in the general situation. However, we never get the sense that anyone really suffers.

Of course, it is a playful, light-hearted, witty piece and has many characteristics of the comedy of manners and farce. For example:

  • It’s conversational, “salotto” setting. The conversation is often “brillante” and flows very well, especially in the last part of the play, when Mauro arrives (not sure if it’s a good idea to use a name too much like the author’s – everyone can imagine who you’re talking about anyway).
  • The slightly hidden exaggeration and grotesqueness of the characters – although they are perfectly credible copies of what lots of people would consider acceptable behaviour and manner – it makes fun of the audience as much as the actors make fun of one another.
  • Only the man seems “normal” or down to earth – and he does come across as a bit of a victim Maurizio, so I can imagine a lot of people will find it chauvinistic – but you must judge if that is still a theme to defend. I think it is definitely a theme worth using, because without a doubt it arouses a lot of reactions, and that is always an indication that there’s something there worth digging up. You just have to ask yourself if you’ve dug deep enough here to say something original about the “battle of the sexes”. In Italy it will still have resonance.
  • The use of games and the metaphor of life as a game – life is like a pastime to your characters, but then I meet people like that all the time. Perhaps the bourgeoisie have got it right and it is inevitable that sophisticated existence is just playing around…I don’t know. Often, when we begin to dig, it’s quite surprising just how conventional we discover ourselves to be – even though we think of ourselves as anti-conformist, and it takes a lot to get rid of that.
  • There are elements of social satire – in the characters, or for example about modern art & the critics – which I liked, because I felt vindicated in my own opinions.

It seems to me you use and refer to your experiences with people more, rather than using intellectual abstraction. You seem to me to be making use of these human relations much more.

I know you a little, so I think it’s a very good idea you use certain talents you have as major axes when you write – so you’re often very witty – play with words, puns and generally funny associations, because you know a lot of things – stuff you can make a lot of use of. It’s a good way for you to sfoggare your intolerance – alla Oscar Wilde “lingua slegata e pronta a infilzare chiunque le passi accanto…” I think it could be good for you.

Take it out on the play Mau – not on the Dream Club!!

Other little observations:

It’s the first time you have used your extensive knowledge about music – audiences are bound to find this enjoyable on stage.

Gambling for something you don’t really want to lose and which most people haven’t got the courage (probably not the right word) to do, is always intriguing for an audience.

People still like angels and demons a lot – more in Italy, but I think everywhere, too. I think that’s a theme like the conflict between men & women, which still has a lot to run.

Importance of dreams, which is a poetic recurrence in lots of stuff you write – and I like that.

I read the last part quickly this evening, so I’m sorry if I missed any twist that should have been obvious, but hey! You can forgive me, right?



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