translated by Mike Poulton
The Syndicate is a dark comedy of pathos and farce by one of Italy's pre-eminent dramatists of the twentieth century, Eduardo de Filippo.
Smuggled out of Naples in his youth after stabbing a brutal nightwatchman to death, Antonio Barracano returned home in the 1960s as a wealthy man. He used his newfound status to quash his murder conviction, and was soon feared but respected throughout the city. Don Antonio has made it his life's work to bring rough justice to the criminals of Naples who otherwise have no fear of the law. He rules the city's underbelly with a rod of iron.
The play begins when a respectable but poor young man who has resolved to murder his father comes to Don Antonio for advice. The Neapolitan 'Godfather' emerges from the shadows to make the young man's father an offer he can't refuse. The comedy grows blacker as 'respectable' Naples collides with its criminal underworld. The Syndicate is a grippingly theatrical examination of fear and alternative justice.
De Filippo's Il sindaco del rione Sanità is made newly accessible and contemporary in this translation by Mike Poulton.