A struggling turn of the century New York repertory theatre company attempts to stage a complex and challenging production to turn its fortunes around. Directed by John Turturro who also stars as braggart playwright Tuccio, Illuminata is a complex farce with very extravagant period costumes and sets. Tuccio has written a fantastical new play which nobody (other than himself) feels is ready for the stage. The leading diva Celimente (Susan Sarandon) seduces Tuccio and eggs him on with promises she'll take him with him to the big time, whilst a critic who's launched a scathing attack on Illuminata, is now trying to get off with the company clown. The ins and outs of the entire company are soon exposed and a grande farce ensues.