Umberto Orsini and Franco Branciaroli divided ‘For a yes or a no’

The French comedy by Nathalie Sarraute directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi at the Argentina theater in Rome

Can a trifle be enough, even just an intonation of voice or even a pause judged more or less long than ‘normal’ between two exclamations, to break a consolidated friendship and never meet again for a very long time? The answer is yes, considering the plot that underlies the comedy ‘for a yes or for a no’ by the writer Nathalie Sarraute (original title ‘Pour un oui ou pour un non’ which is the French way of describing our ‘just nothing’), on stage until 5 March at the Argentina theater, with absolute protagonists Umberto Orsini And Franco Branciarolidirected by Pier Luigi Pizzi who also signs sets and costumes in addition to directing.

The show lives on the interpretation of the two showmen on the stage, where an environment between living room, study and library is represented with books with completely blank covers and pages. The disquisition, often harsh but also with humorous veins, is based on the exegesis, almost a vivisection, of the ‘offending’ sentence, i.e. the expression ‘Ah, well… so!’ pronounced by one of the two at the news of a success achieved by the other and above all on that pause between the words ‘well’ and ‘so’ and on the intonation pronounced, which had the immediate and final result of convincing the second of the false friendship demonstrated up to since then from the first.

Natalie SarrauteFrench writer of the twentieth century who occupied an important place in the alchemy between theater of the absurd and theater of the everyday, therefore puts the power of words at the center of the scene, “in a web of incomparable skill”, as the director underlines Pier Luigi Pizzi. Every intonation, is the thesis of the comedy of words, can be variously interpreted by the state of mind of the listener, with that trifle that can change everything and cause deep lacerations and incurable wounds in human relationships, even established friendships.

(Of Enzo Bonaiuto)