Campese, actor-manager of a company of strolling players, goes to De Caro, prefect of a provincial capital just settled, and exposes the problems of the company. The two discuss the crisis in the theater, on the role of the actor, on the repertoires and finally the relationship between fiction and reality, showing profound differences. Campese invites the prefect to his show, hoping that the presence of an authority can entice people to go to the theater; De Caro, however, refuses and dismisses him sharply. But Campese gets hold of a list of persons to be received and a challenge: De Caro will be able to distinguish between the real people and its actors dressed? By the prefect alternate the people who had asked for an audience by presenting their cases and he, again the place, can not figure out if they are real or if they are actors of the company. Not even when it comes Marshal should stop Campese.