The scene is a rundown, cluttered apartment in the Italian-American section of South Philadelphia, where Berto, deserted by his southern-born wife some ten years earlier, is preparing a family party for his father, Oreste, who is paying his monthly visit from the nursing home to which he has been consigned. Chaotic at the best of times, things are thrown into even greater turmoil when Aggy, Berto's estranged wife, suddenly turns up, shepherded by her tough-talking sister, Sarah (who farms her own spread in North Carolina), ostensibly to claim her personal belongings and to serve Berto with divorce papers. During their years apart, Aggy, trying to bring some order into her life, has earned a medical degree, but she has also lost contact with their son, Little Tom, and she is filled with remorse when she learns of Tom's repeated attempts at suicide during her prolonged absence. But Tom, who has been "saved" by his grotesquely overweight, hilariously foul-mouthed wife, Francine, is not about to relieve his mother's guilt, nor is he abashed when Renzo, Francine's randy father, undertakes an athletic slam-bang pursuit of sister Sarah. Bursting with vitality, and bounding from scenes of wild hilarity to moments of deeply moving emotion, the play ultimately breaks through the barriers that separate its varied characters and unites them in a shared awareness that life, for all its untidiness and disorder, is meant to be lived—joyfully, for richer or poorer, and with love as its passionate core.
Produced Off-Broadway to great critical and popular acclaim, and transferred to Broadway, this exuberant, deeply human and explosively funny play marks a new level of accomplishment for one of our theatre's most gifted and exciting writers. "…bubbling with life and theatrical vitality…an uninhibited family comedy that is crowded with love and heartiness." —NY Times. "…Innaurato's most generous play." —Village Voice. "Albert Innaurato is one of the most perceptive and funny playwrights to emerge in the 1970s, and PASSIONE is his master work." —Bergen Record.