Il diavolo e il buon Dio

Debut: Genoa, Sala Eleonora Duse, 6 December 1962

Translation Giacomo Debenedetti
Reduction Giacomo Debenedetti
Luigi Squarzina
Direction Luigi Squarzina
Set and costume  Gianni Polidori
Music  Gino Negri
Production Teatro Stabile di Genova

Characters and performers

The Archbishop / farmer Giorgio De Virgiliis
Servant / farmer Orazio Meli
Colonel Linehart / Baron Nossak Arrigo Forti
Banker Foucre / the leper Raffaele Giangrande
Heinz / farmer Emilio Cappuccio
Schimidt Andrea Lala
Nasty Antonio Battistella 
Gerlach / farmer / the beggar Arnaldo Bagnasco
Woman Margherita Guzzinati 
Heinrich Carlo D’Angelo 
Captain Ulrich / bourgeois Sandro Rossi
Baron Rietschell / bourgeois Luigi Carubbi 
Peasant / bourgeois Myria Selva
Farmer / bourgeois Vittorio Penco
The teacher Carla Bonavera
Farmer / bourgeois Luigi Dameri
Peasant / the witch / bourgeois Dina Braschi
Second novice / bourgeois Franco Carli
The parish priest / bourgeois Adolfo Fenoglio
The prophet / baron Schulheim Giulio Brogi
The bishop / farmer Gino Bardellini
Paesant / commoner Nuccia Stancanelli 
Farmer / commoner Sandro Dori 
Commoner Chiara Delmonte
Franz / commoner Carlo Formigoni
Paesant / commoner Raffaella Rossi
First officer Michele Kalamera
Fellow / farmer Alfredo Senarica
Hermann Corrado Nardi
Goetz Alberto Lionello
Caterina Paola Mannoni 
Farmer / second chief farmer Giuliano Disperati
Karl Omero Antonutti
First novice Giancarlo Fortunato
Tetzel Eros Pagni
Hilda Lucilla Morlacchi

With this production, Squarzina carried out a highly valuable operation of cultural daring, inviting critics and audiences to a test of maturity in the face of theatrical work which, had censorship still been in effect, they would never have been able to see: Sartre’s works had already been placed on the Index in 1948. Squarzina staged it nonetheless, and explained his reasons in his detailed Director’s Notes. But bringing onto the stage a monster preaching absolute evil, and exposing audiences to cries of “God doesn’t exist,” seemed unprecedented in Italy in 1962. It was chaos. The Christian Democratic mayor was attacked by the right, by Azione Cattolica (“Catholic Action”) and by the Papal Curia, and a host of threatening letters and notices of legal action were addressed to Ivo Chiesa and Squarzina. Demands were made for the theatre to be shut down and for censorship to return. The situation was later defused thanks to intervention by Cardinal Siri, who granted his permission.

Although criticisms of Sartre’s text would continue in both abundance and harshness, Squarzina’s production would be judged admirable and fascinating, with remarkable directing power and never-faltering tension, and would go on to achieve resounding success with audiences. Alberto Lionello, playing the main character Goez, was honoured in 1963, at the same time, with the Premio Palermo, the Anfora d’Oro, and the Premio San Genesio – winning the latter over his rival Tino Buazzelli and his interpretation of Galileo, produced by Strehler at Milan’s Teatro Piccolo.

We thank Teatro Nazionale di Genova for the concession of the use of photographic material.