Tuccio (John Turturro) is having problems staging his latest play, "Illuminata." In fact, the production is a melodrama in its own right. The lead actress, Rachel (Katherine Borowitz), is his lover. His cast members are ready to mutiny. And a preview of the piece didn't exactly thrill renowned theater critic Umberto Bevalaqua (Christopher Walken). So it's no wonder Tuccio finds himself susceptible to the seductions of Celimene (Susan Sarandon), a professed admirer.