THE PROBLEM – A.R. Gurney Jr.

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translated, directed and interpreted by

Annika Strøhm Saba Salvemini

An Areté Ensemble production (2009)

“The problem” – National premiere in Italy


A couple in their thirties has completed ten years of marriage. In a late afternoon in the studio of the husband, the wife enters and announces her pregnancy… numerous and intricate confessions are revealed.The story of a couple taken by their desires.

On stage two actors. The theme is the couple and its games.The principles of analysis begins from a series of studies that emphasizes the different role games that human beings create between them. A comedy played in a curious naturalism that makes the public a delighted voyeur and the actors possible neighbours.

“One holds on from underneath, the other holds on from above, what?”


A.R.Gurney Jr. born in 1930 in Buffalo, New York. Writer of romances and play writer. He has worked as teacher for many years at M.I.T Massachusetts. He has won a great number of prices and is member of the Theatre Hall of Fame and of American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Photos by Marco Ghidelli

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What they say about The Problem

Versatility should be a talent of any actor …. This does not lack in the two actors Annika Strøhm and Saba Salvemini…
… a very simple staging that leaves space for the verve of the actors. And Salvemini and Strøhm do have plenty of this for sale, extremely effective as a lucifer couple...

Nicola Viesti Hystrio Lugl-Sett 2010

The two actors, that moves freely in this small space that is truly a living room, is a couple in real life. We will not say (and near to the spectator) that here lies the secret to such a good result, but surely their way of teasing each other has something sublime about it. Saba Salvemini is a sort of a nice ogre and Annika Strøhm a princess in the same tale. The direction of the way of working is a completely scenic truth and more than anything freedom of the body, simply an amusing game and more than anything amused. Their faces, their limbs, even their nails, are alive. There is no hurry, the rhythm is steady, coherent with the rising of certain small jealousies and wickedness that makes the life in a couple one of the more thrilling games.
Finally a simple, educated work, perfectly performed and full of that fundamental complexity: the one of the game.

Sergio Lo Gatto KLP-Krapp’s Last Post Ottobre 2010

An intelligent choice of acting from the two actors Annika Strøhm and Saba Salvemini, also directors and translators of this work…The accurate acting aims at a considerable finishing of the interpersonal dynamics of the two personages… With great satisfaction the Theatre Teatro Civico 14 was full at both the shows of this elegant performance.

Edgardo Bellini http://www.teatro.org Gennaio 2010

absolutely cheerful, playful and inviting in this game of couple continuously invented again and again….everything becomes complicated in an absurd and dizzy way, a fresh succession of games for two…. with a surprising final!
Valeria Ottolenghi – La Gazzetta di Parma

The Problem: a comedy of sparkling wit, involving, about the psychosis of the couple and the mental perversions told with elegance and which, sometimes, borders the nonsense…
Angelica D’Appote http://www.teatro.org Gennaio 2011

Very good Annika Strøhm and Saba Salvemini in their natural way of entering the personages and giving life to a comic mechanism of great elegance.  
Italo Interesse Quotidiano Bari

an amusing, solid an inevitable couple. It’s the couple Annika Strøhm – Saba Salvemini …

Lara Carbonara Bitontotv Gennaio 2010

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