Obsessed with his own salvation, the hermit Paulo dedicates himself to ten years of prayerful penance. When his faith wavers, the ever-watchful Devil seizes the moment to convince him that he shares the fate of one Enrico, a notorious Neapolitan gangster destined for damnation. Swearing vengeance, Paulo lashes out against God and assembles a band of rival outlaws.
I'll match Enrico in mad badness.
So, we're damned, both of us, are we?
Then I'll be revenged on the whole world.
And yet, even as their villainous crimes escalate, the possibility of redemption hovers over the two men, perhaps within reach.
A fast-paced adventure story embracing bandits and beautiful women between glimpses of heaven and hell, this subversive and at times riotous exploration of faith and the transformative power of love races across the Italian landscape, relishing the unpredictability of fate, an extraordinary array of characters and their very real dilemmas.
Sinner I am - pray for me.
Damned by Despair, written in 1635 by the great Spanish dramatist Tirso de Molina, is brought to vivid life in Frank McGuinness's new version, whichopens at the National Theatre, London, in October 2012.