Pulcinella e l'asino del diavolo

Electronic text

2 pages

Pulcinella e l'asino del diavolo

| 2007 | Castellammare di Stabia, Italy
Donna, Serpentone, Pulcinella, Public, Teresina
Number of acts

Gaspare Nasuto defines the « canvas » of his show Pulcinella e l'asino del diavolo (Pulcinella and the Devil's Ass) as an « instrument ». In this short text, he noted the plot, some dialogue, and other observations. Annotated dialogues do not always match the dialogue actually performed, which was often delivered in Neapolitan dialect, sometimes at a very fast pace. Consequently, this text does not reflect the musicality of the cues nor the musicality of the movements of the puppets inscribed in their bodies. Each character in Nasuto's plays was actually conceived to perform specific micro-movements that are always repeated in exactly the same way.

A first version of this play was created between 1998 and 1999. But Nasuto only wrote the definitive canvas after the show had been performed several times and after fixing the pace and length of the scenes according to audience reaction. This text therefore corresponds to
the definitive version of the show that Nasuto presented from 2007. In 2010, the puppeteer was also responsible for the staging and music of the Romanian version of the play, which was performed by four puppeteers and four actors at the Puck Puppet Theater in Cluj-Napoca.

Plot summary

A woman is mercilessly hunted down because she is different

On a beach by the Tyrrhenian Sea, a woman invokes the devil Serpentone. She wants to ask him to make her invincible and immortal so she can return to her village and take revenge on her compatriots who drove her out, calling her an old witch. The devil arrives, preceded by his deep, dark voice. He is ready to grant her immortality in exchange for something big, something you can see and touch. As the woman has nothing to hand, Serpentone gives her until midnight to find an offering before disappearing into the flames. The woman then prepares a potion in a big pot. Pulcinella, famished, passes by and plunges his head into the pot to eat the soup, but when he stands up again, he discovers he has a big donkey's head. Having effected the transformation, the woman gives the donkey to the devil who takes it
to hell where he intends to kill it and make a drum out of its skin. But in trying to kill the animal, the devil frees Pulcinella from the spell. Pulcinella fights with the devil, kills him and escapes from hell to settle scores with the woman who turned him into a donkey. She is about to drink the wine the devil gave her to make her invincible. Realizing Pulcinella wants to kill her, she puts the blame on the audience: she turned Pulcinella into a donkey because
the audience asked her to. The "cynical and ruthless" audience responds, saying the accusations are false and the woman is wicked. The audience, thus involved in the performance, finds itself acting out the scene recounted by the woman at the beginning of the show, where her compatriots insult her and drive her out. Pulcinella beats the witch to death with a broom, to much applause from the audience. The moral is that people who are different will always be hunted down without mercy.

Composition date
Version définitive du spectacle, notée en 2007

Conservation place

Author's archives
Literary tones
Comical, Dramatic
Animations techniques
Glove-puppet, Marotte
All audiences


Theatrical techniques


Written by

Anna Leone