translated by David Harrower
Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author is an extraordinary and influential play, a sharp-edged labyrinth of humour, pity and profundity. This text, entitled Six Characters Looking for an Author, is a new version by David Harrower.
Six people arrive in a theatre during rehearsals for a play. They are the characters of a play that has not yet been written. Trapped inside a traumatic event from which they long to escape, they desperately need a writer to complete their story and release them. Intrigued by their situation, the director and his company of actors listen as the characters begin to describe and argue over the key events of their lives.
Pirandello’s play deals at one level with the nature of theatre, the mystery of imaginative creativity and the clashes between life and art, and at another with the suffering of humanity, the bitterness of family breakdown and the pathology of guilt.
Six Characters in Search of an Author caused a riot when it was first produced in Rome in 1921, and was banned in Britain until 1928. Harrower’s version premiered in 2001 at the Young Vic Theatre, London.