Three women: Anna, a grandmother living alone, Lydia, her daughter, and Esther, a reluctant caregiver. Simple people like any you may meet in everyday life, but nothing is ever as it seems.
Are the noises that Anna claims to hear, the mysterious mice in the wall, real, or are they the product of her imagination or her illness? Why is Lidia so anxious to find an accommodation for her mother? Why is she so afraid of what people might say? And what exactly is Esther looking for?
“Mice in the wall” is a rather unusual story about the Shoah. Instead of developing along the lines of a historical re-enactment of a distant (and therefore harmless) past, it takes shape, as stated in the setting descriptions within the script itself, in “a not too precise temporal collocation” that “is however much closer to our time than we would like to believe”.
This is the strength of Alessandro Izzi’s play: to not surrender to that aforementioned self-indulgent narration of the Italian people, and to judge it without mercy, in the hope that it will t come to terms with its own long rejected collective responsibility.
This is what Alessandro Izzi, refined writer and Holocaust scholar does through a narration seen through a keyhole, capable of looking from a distance while making you feel only a few steps away. ‘Mice in the Wall’ is no grandiose account but a story composed of small gestures, looks, unspoken words and loud moments of silence. Tactful and yet omitting nothing, Alessandro recreates the full and sheer scale of tragedy and horror, but also the hope and healing, that the Holocaust and its aftermath meant for millions of people. (Jason R. Forbus)
We cannot get rid of our mice in the wall by simply opening the trap door that we kept hidden so long. Amnesia and amnesty are just shortcuts that “help us live”, to paraphrase Pasolini’s words. But memory and knowledge need patience, honesty, and pain. It is only through them that we can possibly find redemption. But mice are still running in the wall. (Giovanni Gaetani)
ACT 1 – MEMORY DISORDERS page13
ACT 2 – INSIDE THE MIRROR LABYRINTH page 37
ACT 3 – LET THERE BE LIGHT page 59
Afterword page 69