Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author is now performing at A Noise Within (ANW) as the final production of its 2015-2016 season. It’s an adaptation by Robert Brustein, directed by Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.
Most English majors would have read this work, although it is rarely seen on stage. This is due to the play’s unusual structure and story, where six characters out of an unfinished play appear to a group of actors during a rehearsal. The characters say that they need to find an author who will want to finish their play, so that they won’t have to continue living the same truncated story.
Brustein’s adaptation allows ANW to present this play as if the actors in rehearsal are part of the ANW company. In fact, the audience recognizes the set of Our Town as the play begins. Their dialogue is familiar as they talk about props and costumes that have been used in past ANW plays. Then, six strange characters burst into scene and their plight begins: can an author please finish their story?
While this play will be easier to understand for those who have read Pirandello’s book, the questions discussed in the story should be clear to all – can an actor properly present the characters in a play? Since those characters were created in an author’s mind, is an actor really able to deliver them as originally intended? And you may consider the luck of a character in a play… forever doomed to relive the same story over and over again.
In 1921, when this play premiered at the Teatro Valle in Rome, it received a mixed reception. The audience shouted “Manicomio!” (Madhouse!) and “Incommesurabile!) (Peculiar!) because of the play’s difficult progression. It is still different than what you may have seen in the theater, up to its last moment, when the actors step off stage and the audience is left to wonder what to do next. But it is fun, it demands your attention, and you will leave the theater knowing that you’ve seen something unique.
Six Characters in Search of an Author will perform until May 14 in repertoire with Romeo and Juliet and Shaw’s You Never Can Tell. Tickets are $44 with Student Rush tickets an hour before performance at $20 (student ID required). More information and tickets at http://www.anoisewithin.org
A Noise Within is located at 3352 East Foothill Blvd in Pasadena, 91107.
Photo: Rafael Goldstein (The Son), Geoff Elliott (The Father), Rigel Blue Pierce-English (The Young Daughter), Abby Craden (The Mother), Jack Elliott (The Young Son), and Alison Elliott (The Stepdaughter). Photo by Craig Schwartz. Used with permission.
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