Grown-up children Alice, Riccardo and Maria arrived the previous evening. Older brother Roberto too. A weekend in Silvio’s country house, on the edge of a depopulated village where he’s lived only three years. In his solitude, Silvio has acquired a number of foibles, and the most serious is that he no longer wants to walk. He doesn’t want to get up. He wants to stay sitting down as much as possible. And alone. For his children, who until now have not been too worried about it, it’s a matter of deciding what to do, how to deal with him, how to shift his radical and intransigent position. Here and there empathy and distance emerge between two generations of siblings. Reckonings, mutual irritation, but despite everything, brotherhood as far as possible, for what it’s worth – generally less, much less than each of them would like. They’re there for a mass to mark ten years since their mother’s death. There are things to commemorate, to say, to agree upon. What’s sure is that, in his isolation, a certain confusion reigns in Silvio’s mind between desires and reality: with no-one there to contradict him in his daily habits, his life can be exactly how he decides it should be. Up to a point.
“This show, with the father played by an actor who in my view is unexpectedly marvellous – Silvio Orlando – has its roots in a plague, a curse, an illness that’s specific to our age, and one which I personally know only too well. Social psychology has given it a name: social loneliness. It seems it’s a bigger killer than obesity. Shining a light on the risks of this phenomenon were two studies presented at the 125th annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA). Being isolated by society is a dark and insidious sickness. As humans, we all need contact with other people, and this need enables us to survive. It becomes even more worrying if we consider that this kind of “extreme loneliness” is spreading, and will continue to grow in years to come, due to the greater life expectancy of populations leading to ever-increasing numbers of old people. According to experts, we could find ourselves faced with an epidemic of loneliness, and not only in richer countries. It’s even widespread among young people. In my view, Silvio Orlando is a very special actor. His impeccable interpretation is able to trigger empathy in every spectator, and his exquisitely tragicomic delivery raises questions, emotions and action in his audience. And we like to think that thanks to the potential landslide of emotions hopefully caused by this play, the audience might – perhaps the same evening, perhaps the next day – pick up the phone and call a father, a mother, a brother, a distant relative or friend now isolated, and go and see them, take them out. Or just keep them company for a while”.