Claudia: Guido, I am not a spirit. I am real. I have a life you know nothing about. And have never shown the slightest interest in. I shouldn’t have come here.
Throughout Nine, Guido simplifies the women in his life to simple muses and inspirations for his art. The name of the musical isn’t even called nine women, but simply Nine. While reading this play, Guido’s shallow interactions with the women in his life reminds me of a quote from the 2013 film Syrup: “Men categorize women in one of four ways: Mothers, virgins, sluts and bitches.”
Mothers: Guido’s mother
Mothers are often seen as just gentle, caring people who love their children. In this musical, Guido’s actual mother is used to show his childhood and a near death visitation. Nothing about Guido’s mother is actually known other than her relationship and interaction with him. She breaks the mold of being caring when she informs him that his film is horrible and he is going to die.
Although the play never specifies that Luisa was a virgin, the virgin trope is a pure woman with kind intentions who is not blood related to the male. In this case, Luisa is his wife and stands by his side despite the fact that she knows he has affairs. However, she breaks the mold of being modest and softspoken when she decides to get a divorce.
Sluts: Carla Albanese, Claudia Nardi
A slut is a derogatory word for a women who likes to have sex. During this musical, Guido revisits his past affairs. However, Claudia boldly refuses to be in his film and be his “muse” again. As the quote on the top states, “I am real.” She doesn’t even accept it when Guido says he loves her. She breaks the mold of being always available for lust and love when she denies him.
Bitches: La Fleur
This category is the hardest to fulfill since the antagonist of the play is Guido himself as he struggles to write a musical. Although La Fleur has no gender, the character can be played by a woman. In so, a woman is making him achieve his deadline and follow the contract that he has to produce a film.
I’m curious if this musical would even pass the Bechdel test as every piece of dialogue is focused so much on Guido. Through Guido’s interactions with these women, they are all simply ideas in his mind. Only when they stand up against Guido do they gain dynamic.