By: Luigi Pirandello
GENRE: Italian Drama - theatre of the grotesque
SETTING: Daytime, the present, the stage of a theatre
THEMES: How does one define reality/truth?
"At least admit that the actress who will play her will be less true than what you see before your very eyes" (Father, II)
THE CHARACTERSTHE COMPANY
SonSecond Female Lead
Boy (mute role)Ingenue
Little Girl (mute role)Juvenile
Madam PaceOld Character Lady
Other Actors and Actresses
Stage Door Man
First Stage Manager
Second Stage Manager
Roles for 9 men and 8 women plus other minor characters.
A theatre company is preparing to rehearse one of Pirandello's plays, "which no one understood when it was written and which makes even less sense today" (Director, I). Before they are able to begin, however, the Characters enter and explain who they are, and that the author that created them had not been able to finish their play, and that they were in search of someone who would help them by finishing the job.
The director agrees, and the characters tell their story, demonstrating scenes that were to be played. Not long after the first scene is played, it appears that there is some disagreement between the Characters and the Company, regarding the direction that the scenes should take. The Characters argue that they way that the Company play their roles is not "real" enough, not "true" enough. Contrariwise, the Director argues that some license must be allowed for the physical and temporal restrictions that stage production puts on their "reality."
The Characters insist on continuing their demonstration, culminating in the suicide of the Boy. The Company is horrified, some believing the child to be truly dead, others insisting that it was a trick. The Father replies to their questions with "What do you...