Sunset Limited, a train named desire

Press Meeting

Cormac McCarty’s drama at Teatro Frecciarossa

If you want to understand the title of this Meeting you should read the book by Cormac McCarthy, or, with less effort and perhaps a greatest achievement, you should go and see the show that Fabio Sonzogni (who is also the director) and Fausto Hieme Caroli staged on Wednesday at the Frecciarossa theatre.
Sunset Limited is the dialogue between a white man, wealthy and desperate professional and a black man just got out of jail, a poor man from New York slums, who met his own reason to live – Jesus – in prison. Where is the “state of emergency”? It’s all in the leitmotif of the white professor: “it does not make sense.” Life, death, friendship, all words without a meaning, and so nothing can prevent us from throwing ourselves under the wheels of the Sunset Limited. As the disenchanted white man was about to do. But he was saved in extremis by the black one who was on the railroad, firmly believing to have a mission to accomplish.
The drama takes place in the black man’s modest home: a fridge, a stove, two chairs around a table, a sofa and a crucifix on the wall. An unadorned environment (a “leper hospital of the spirit,” says the Professor), into which the sounds of life come: car horns, screeching tires, rattling of trains and degradation: gunshots, screams, broken glasses, sirens. In this “awful place, inhabited by horrible people”, a verbal duel takes place between the one who, after having placed his illusion “in the cultural things,” had lost his reasons to live, and the one who says that Jesus is in that room not because he thinks so, but because he knows it. A challenge between the one for whom “it’s hard to ignore things,” and the other who claims for himself and for others, as desperate as him, the right to commit suicide in the total indifference of the others.
“This whole issue of God is a bullshit,” the white man bursts out; according to him there is no happiness for anyone and the world only suffers. But the black man affirms that if God does not exist, the reality has no meaning. Then he tells him that it was only by the grace of God that he survived a stabbing in jail, with 280 stitches. However, the nihilism of the white Professor is not scratched by anything. Not even by the offer of friendship nor a meal eaten together. He keeps on repeating “I have to go”, while he approaches and moves away from the front door, that the black man bolted. The black man talks about everything in a desperate attempt to reawaken his mate to life, and to find the weakest link in his cynical reasoning, in his rejection of a reality which he does not accept, but that mysteriously imposed herself in front of him that morning, along the tracks.
According to the black man, who believes in the Gospel, the white man, determined to get it over with life, is something precious anyway: the black man begs “God protect the professor because we need him” when, in a burst of anger, the white man goes away. The last line spoken by the white man remains in the air, a line which says all his question, the question of the state of emergency: “I want forgiveness, but there is no one to ask.”