The play is a satirical tragicomedy. It was first performed in 1921 at the Teatro Valle in Rome, to a very mixed reception, with shouts from the audience of "Manicomio!" ( "Madhouse!"). Subsequently the play enjoyed a much better reception. This improved reception was helped in 1925 when, with the third edition of the play, Pirandello provided a foreword clarifying the structure and ideas contained in the play.