La Governante

By Vitaliano Brancati, directed by Maurizio Scaparro with Pippo Pattavina, Giovanna Di Rauso, Max Malatesta, Marcello Perracchio. The play is centred on Caterina Leher, a French governess hired by the Platanias, a family of bourgeois Sicilians settled in Rome. Patriarch Leopoldo has sacrificed the life of his daughter, who committed suicide while the family was still living in Sicily, to the prejudices of his personal morality.

Caterina is a Calvinist, and is considered a model of integrity. However, she secretly lives her homosexuality, a “sin” made worse by her ascribing her own leanings to a young maid of the Platanias, causing her to be fired. Caterina feels responsible for the death of the girl, involved in a train accident while she was going back home to Sicily: a last “sin” that the governess decides to expiate by killing herself.

The play, written in 1952, could not be staged in Italy until the board of censors was abolished. It was staged for the first time in Paris in 1963, and then in Italy only in 1965. The excuse for the censorship was that it concerned the issue of homosexuality. However critics point out that the true theme of the play is the hidden tension behind the façade of bourgeois society. In Italian. Teatro Quirino, Via delle Vergini 7, tel. 066783048, www.teatroquirino.it.