"Dentro. Una storia vera, se volete / Dentro (Inside). A True Story, If You Think So" by Giuliana Musso

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Juliet Guzzetta


Giuliana Musso’s fearless play about the structures and cultures that hide sexual abuse is a Pirandellian spiral of truths that elude proof, presented through a theatrical framing that confounds reality with art. The most recent play of nine that she has written and performs in her preferred “theater of inquiry” style, Dentro (Inside), dramatizes Musso’s real-life encounter with an acquaintance who shared an impossible story of incest. In the opening minutes, Roberta discloses the horrifying experience of slowly learning that her ex-husband molested their daughter Chiara for years when they still lived together. Over a series of “chapters,” or scenes, it becomes apparent how every system in place to help vulnerable members of society—from the hospitals to private psychologists, the police and law enforcement, eventually the lawyers, the whole legal system, and even language itself—was unable to support Roberta and her daughter. To the contrary, given that the case was dismissed, they have gag orders; they cannot even speak of what happened so as not to slander the reputation of the ex-husband/ father. In a last-ditch effort, Roberta turns to Giuliana, who she knows as a celebrated actor-author, to devise a play that speaks to these issues. The actual play is ultimately a dramatized account of their real-life conversations.

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Author Biography

Juliet Guzzetta, Michigan State University

Juliet Guzzetta is an associate professor with joint appointments in the Department of English and the Department of Romance and Classical Studies at Michigan State University. Her first book, The Theater of Narration: From the Peripheries of History to the Main Stages of Italy (Northwestern UP, 2021; translation in Italian by Accademia University Press, 2023), explores a form of contemporary solo theater in its historical, political, and performative dimensions. She has published articles and essays in Theatre History Studies, Annali d’Italianistica, Gender/Sexuality/Italy, Spunti e ricerche, and several edited volumes. Her research has been supported by a year-long Fulbright grant to Italy as well as Harvard’s Mellon School for Theater and Performance Research. Currently, she is working on a monograph that analyzes the political interests of Franca Rame as a way to better understand her theater and she is editing a collection on Italian feminist thought.