“I wish I had your gift, to be able to see.”
The Return, is the first English translation of Il Ritorno, by Sergio Pierattini, winner of the 2008 Italian Critics Award.
Bergamo, Northern Italy. A daughter returns home after spending seven years in prison for the manslaughter of her fiancée, a Moroccan immigrant employed by her father. She finds her mother pining for her lost “respectability”, her father talking to the dead, and her brother trying in vain to keep the family business going. Pierattini’s script juxtaposes the seriousness of the material, and its commentary on intercultural relations, with darkly humorous dialogue, a surrealist sensibility and a creeping sense of claustrophobia to capture the disintegration of traditional Italian society.
Matthew Morrison and the cast
Jean Paul Del Monte, Anna Elena Pepe, Lara Parmiani, Federico Zanni
Born in Sondrio, Northern Italy, in 1958, Sergio Pierattini graduated from the Accademia Nazionale di Arte Drammatica “Silvio d’Amico” in Rome and since then he has been active as a writer, actor and director. Since 2005, he has taught radio playwriting at the National Film School in Rome. His award-winning plays include The Return (Best Play, National Association of Critics 2008; short-listed for the Ubu Prize); Un Mondo Perfetto (Special Jury Award, Riccione Theatre Festival 2007); Il raggio bianco (Flaiano Prize 2006); and La Maria Zanella (The Ubu Prize 2005).
Italian critic Rossella Battisti describes Pierattini as “a sensitive narrator of small, contemporary tragedies” (L’Unita). Indeed, the terrain of The Return – a gentrifying, postindustrial Northern city whose demographics are changing due to ongoing waves of immigration – will likely provoke viewers to draw parallels between Bergamo and similar urban landscapes in the U.K.
The purpose of LegalAliens’ version, however, is not to transpose the play to a UK context, but to find a language that preserves the linguistic and cultural flavor of the Italian text. Our cast, composed entirely of Italian actors performing in English, was uniquely placed to do this work and the script was the result of months of workshopping, rehearsing and conversations. The Return is not only a story about Bergamo, or Italy, or even Europe, but about any society in which cultures and values collide. At the same time, the play opens a window on a contemporary Italy that bears little resemblance to the stereotypes associated with a country we think we know.