Così Fan Tutte

Louis Nowra’s play Così, is written as a parallel to Mozart’s opera, Così Fan Tutte. The title, often translated to ‘Women are like that’ refers to women’s nature or tendency to be unfaithful or disloyal to their partners.

Act I

In Mozart’s opera, Ferrando and Guglielmo confidently declare that their wives, who are coincidentally sisters, Dorabella and Fiordiligi are steadfastly loyal to their husbands under any circumstances. Don Alfonso, an old philosopher claims that the men should not posesses so much confidence for he can prove that their wives, like all women are disloyal. Certain of Dorabella and Fiordiligi, the two men form a bet with Don Alfonso that their wives will not betray them. In order to set up a situation where an opportunity exists for the women to be unfaithful, the men pretend to be sent off to war. The women, who become distressed at the news, are left devastated, claiming their love for their respective husbands.

The women’s maid, Despina, seeing the despair of the sisters assures that they will find new lovers while their husbands are gone. The men return dressed as Albanians, each disguised so well with new clothing and moustaches that their wives cannot see through their deception. Fearing that Despina will recognise the men, Don Alfonso offers a bribe: help the women fall for the Albanians in return for gold. The men attempt to win over the women, yet with no avail. As soon as the women leave, their husbands burst into laughter at Don Alfonso’s bet for their wives indeed proven loyal.

Don Alfonso is incredulous at the women’s fidelity and allows Despina to take over the plan. At the garden, the women are distraught for their husbands. The 'Albanians' intrude declaring their love for the women, and since their feelings are not reciprocated, each drink a vial of poison. The women call for a doctor, and Despina enters, disguised as a doctor and cures them through the use of a magnet. The men, still delirious from the poison...