on stage
"If I may?
Ladies!  Gentlemen!
Excuse me if I alone present myself
I am the Prologue.

Since the author puts the ancient

commedia dell 'arte
characters on the stage again,
he wishes, in part, to revive
the old traditions,
and again he sends me to you.

But not to tell you,
as you were told in the past:
'The tears that we shed are feigned!
Do not alarm yourselves by our
torments and our suffering!'
No!  The author has tried, rather, to paint a slice of life.
He has for his sole maxim that the artist is only human,
and that she/he must be presented as such.
And by this truth, he was inspired.

One day, some painful memories sang out
from the depths of his soul,
and he wrote them into music with real tears,
and his sobs beat time for him!

Therefore, you will see love,
in the way human beings actually love each other;
you will see the sad fruits of hate,
you will hear cries of grief,
screams of rage and cynical laughter!

And you: rather than judge us by our shabby actor's garb,
consider our souls,
because we are people of flesh and blood -
because we, just like you,
breathe the air of this orphaned world!
I've told you the concept, now listen to its development.
Let's go.  We begin!"
 -- Tonio from Pagliacci (Clowns)