Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See Reader Rating

Synopsis

First performed in 1921 with Romans calling out 'Madhouse!' from the audience, "Six Characters in Search of an Author" has remained the most famous and innovative of Pirandello's plays. Often labeled a satirical tragicomedy, this play initiated the anti-illusionism movement of the early twentieth century, rejecting realism in favor of a more symbolic, dreamlike quality. When an acting company's rehearsal is interrupted by six family members who wish their life story to be enacted, the result is a masterpiece in the exploration of the nature of human personality. Both popular and controversial, this play blurred the lines of reality and illusion in unpredictable ways, ultimately influencing later playwrights like Beckett and Sartre with its bizarre blending of theatrical qualities. Such is the eloquence and depth of Pirandello's body of work that he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1934, just two years before his death, an honor worthy of a playwright whose plays had a subtle if profound impact on much of the t
 

About Luigi Pirandello

See more books from this Author
Born in Sicily, Pirandello attended the universities of Palermo, Rome, and Bonn. He obtained his doctorate in philology with a thesis on the dialect of his native town, Agrigento before settling in Rome to teach and write. In 1894, he married a Sicilian girl, Antonietta Portulano, who bore him three children before she went mad and afterwards provided the inspiration for many of his stories and plays. In all, Pirandello wrote 6 novels, some 250 short stories, and about 50 plays. It was a novel, Il fu Mattia Pascal (1904), that first brought him fame. Only in 1920, when he was past 50, did he turn seriously to playwriting. His first stage success had been a comedy, Liola (1917), written in the Agrigento dialect. It took its theme, if not its mood, from the Mandragola of Machiavelli (see Vols. 3 and 4). In 1921, Pirandello presented his most famous play Six Characters in Search of an Author. Here he seeks to confuse his spectators, who are forced into a paradox of reality and illusion when six "characters" search out the actors of a theatrical troupe to play out their inexorable story. The play exemplifies the Pirandellian conflict between art, which is unchanging and constant, and life, which is a continuous succession of mutations. Pirandello deliberately destroyed the traditional boundaries between audience and spectacle, reflecting the relativity and subjectivity of human existence. The play's unconventional format, which resulted in a riot, established Pirandello as Europe's leading avant-garde dramatist. The main body of Pirandello's plays falls into three overlapping categories, the first exploring the nature of the theater, the second the complexities of personality in the etymological or dramatic sense of the term, and the third rising to dramatic representation of the categorical imperatives of social, religious, and artistic community. Besides the world-famous Six Characters in Search of an Author (1918), his best plays in the three categories include Each in His Own Way (1924), It Is So (If You Think So) (1917), Henry IV (1922), The New Colony (1925), Lazarus, As You Desire Me (1930), and The Mountain Giants (1937), written after he had been awarded the Nobel Prize and left incomplete. Pirandello is the forerunner of much modern theater and literature; among the figures who owe their roots to the innovations of Pirandello are Bertolt Brecht, Jean Genet, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Samuel Beckett (see Vol. 1). Nicoletta Simborowski read Modern Languages at Oxford and then worked in publishing and as a teacher at Westminster School in London.She combines a career as a lecturer in Italian at Christ Church, Oxford with freelance interpreting and translating for television and video. Her translations for Dedalus are: The Late Mattia Pascal by Luigi Pirandello, Abbe Jules and Sebastien Roch by Octave Mirbeau.
 
Published June 24, 2010 by Digireads.com. 82 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Reader Rating for Six Characters in Search of an Author
81%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 19 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×