Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
As the playing field of the action, Agazzi’s drawing room reveals a family of pained sufferers with a secret sorrow surrounded by busybody townspeople and ineffectual provincial politicians who find that the “truth” cannot be known.
*Marsica. District of central Italy’s Abruzzi region, which borders the Adriatic Sea, that is mentioned in the play as the place from which the Ponza and Frola families come. In January, 1915, the real Marsica was, in fact, ravaged by a devastating earthquake that killed more than thirty thousand people and destroyed several villages in the region. The region’s history makes the suffering of the Ponza-Frola family and total loss of their identification papers plausible.
Although the play appears to be set in central Italy, its allusions to crowded villages, petty middle-class society, government bureaucracy, and passionate persons who have undergone suffering were probably inspired by the Sicily in which Pirandello grew up.