Six Characters in Search of an Author



  • A play by Luigi Pirandello. First seen in 1921 inRome, it made Pirandello internationally famous when it was produceda year later in London and New York. The play, a paradoxical explorationof the nature of fiction and theatrical illusion, forms part of atrilogy with Each in His Own Way (1924) and Tonight We Improvise(1929). Memorable revivals include the 1963 production at the MayfairTheatre, London, in which Ralph Richardson starred as the Father.

    The play begins with a producer and cast rehearsing Pirandello'splay Rules of the Game. Six fictional characters suddenly appear,looking for the author who created them but has now rejected them.In an attempt to take control of their own fate, they perform a dramain which a father is reunited with his family, including his stepdaughter,in a brothel; then a silent little girl drowns as a silent littleboy looks on before shooting his stepbrother. This impresses the producerso much that he begins to assign his own actors to play the parts.The 'real' characters, however, complain that they are closer to theroles and that the actors would distort the truth. The producer andactors eventually go home leaving the characters to themselves.