Inner Voices Review -Depicted a Nation in the Throes of Post War Trauma

Beginning Tuesday, June 25th and running through Saturday, June 29th Chicago Shakespeare Theater will present the rarely staged 1948 Eduardo De Filippo play,” Inner Voices.” Chicago Shakespeare Theater, in conjunction with Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago have joined forces to commemorate the Year of Italian Culture in America.


Toni Servillo in Piccolo Teatro di Milano’s production of Inner Voices

“Inner Voices” is a touring production co-presented by three companies: Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Teatro di Roma and Teatro Uniti. The play is directed by and features the formidable talents of Neapolitan actor/director Toni Servillo. Mr. Servillo is regarded as the greatest Italian stage and screen actor of his generation. Although he is a relative unknown to American theater audiences, he has starred in Italian film productions such as “Gomorrah” and “Il Divo”; he has been likened to the American great, Gene Hackman, as well as Italian cinema legend Marcello Mastroianni.

Peppe Servillo (left) and Toni Servillo in Piccolo Teatro di Milano’s production of Inner Voices


Inner Voices” had its genesis in post World War II Italy. This work, along with Italian classics such as “Rome, Open City” and “Bicycle Thieves” depicted a nation in the throes of post war trauma. The play deals with Servillo’s character, Alberto Saporito, a man racked by paranoia and mistrust who dreams of a murder committed by a member of the Cimmaruta family, who also happen to be his neighbors. For Alberto Saporito, this dream of foul play is so real that he notifies the police ,which precipitates a series of accusations and counter accusations which ultimately lead to the arrest and ruined reputation of the Cimmarutas. The play’s dialogue is spoken completely in Neapolitan dialect and transitions from a classic whodunit where every character is a suspect, to black comedy with all of the absurdity and outrageous satire that the Italians do so well. As the plot develops, the Cimmarutas begin to accuse eachother  of murdering the victim, Aniello Amitrano, played by Francesco Paglino. As for Alberto Saporito, his brother Carlo, played by Toni Servillo’s  real life brother, Peppe persuades him that he is going to prison for fabricating the murder story based solely on a dream. In the process, Carlo coerces Alberto to surrender his portion of their joint business to Carlo’s control.


Peppe Servillo, Toni Servillo and Antonello Cossia in Piccolo Teatro di Milano’s production of Inner Voices


Chiara Baffi in Piccolo Teatro di Milano’s production of Inner Voices

As the layers of deception deepen and panic takes hold all around, the alleged murder victim, Aniello Amitrano resurfaces- very much alive and well. His disappearance turned out to be nothing more than a huge misunderstanding. Ultimately, the Cimmaruta family is exonerated, but Alberto Saporito is left to comment on the frailty of human relationships and the sad state of morality.


Gigio Morra (left) and Toni Servillo in Piccolo Teatro di Milano’s production of Inner Voices

Although written in 1948, and now 65 years old, the themes of “Inner Voices” still resonate today. Eduardo De Fillipo dealt with issues which have impacted people forever: trust, loyalty, survival and forgiveness, just to name a few.


Concerning Chicago Shakespeare Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to classical productions, new works and family fare. Its World Stage Series is a program that brings the world’s most exciting events to Chicago and presents Chicago Shakespeare’s work abroad.


Photos By: Fabio Esposito


Inner Voices”:

by Eduardo De Fillipo

directed by Toni Servillo


“Inner Voices" runs June 25-29 in CST’s Courtyard Theater.

Performed in Italian with English Translation


Tickets: $50-$70

Discounts available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier Garages.

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Courtyard Theater

800 East Grand on Navy Pier

Chicago, Il

Box Office: 312-595-5600


For more events in conjunction with the Year of Italian Culture, contact the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago at: 312-822-9545 or visit

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