Born in Trani in the province of Bari in 1880, Luigi Chiarelli soon moved with his family to Rome, where he completed his secondary education. He could not afford to attend a university after his father died, and being the oldest of five children, he went to work in a government office. During this period (1895-1910), he began his youthful attempts at playwriting, composing eight plays that he later disavowed. He also contributed regularly to L’Alfieri and La patria.
In 1911, Chiarelli left his job to have more time for writing and to become a freelance reporter for the Milanese newspaper Il secolo, soon becoming its editor. In Milan, he became acquainted with some of the most prominent Italian dramatic companies, directors, and actors. He continued to write, and finally, in 1912, his two one-act plays Una notte d’amore (a night of love) and Er gendarme (the policeman) were performed in Bologna and Milan, respectively. They were well received, although not great successes.
In the summer of the next year, Chiarelli wrote in twenty days his masterpiece, The Mask and the Face, which was rejected more than once before its first performance. In 1914, he was editing Armi e politica in Turin when he was drafted. He continued to contribute to Italian newspapers during the war, and in May, 1916, he managed to get a pass to go to Rome, where The Mask and the Face was premiering...
(The entire section is 450 words.)