Saturday, February 16, 2008

Six Characters in Search of an Author - Luigi Pirandello

Evidently an influential Modernist work (not, evidently, influential enough to escape the giant gaps in my English knowledge - thanks, school), the play was great. Six characters show up on a stage and try to convince the manager to "be their author" (it seems their author wrote them and then discarded them). They "act" their story (their reality) on stage for the manager (who still doesn't believe they are fictional characters), who eventually agrees to "stage" their "story." As he tries to do this, the notion of reality becomes quite confused. Is a character's "written word" his reality? Do characters exist outside of books, performing only the role they were "written" for? How do "unused" characters experience truth? What happens when all of this collides together on stage?

Pirandello explores the concepts of truth and reality in a masterful way. If characters are, in fact, alive, but can only tell one story (the one they were written to do), are they more or less real that an actor who attempts to "recreate" that story on stage. How true is acting, after all? Or, how close does acting bring us to truth?

Although short, the play moves at an insane pace. I would love to see this staged.

Finished: 1/12/08
Pages: 52 (it was a Dover edition)
Total Page count: 806