Pirandello

Six Characters in Search of an Author

The most difficult Plays – n°1

Not all the plays are great.
This one is great.

It’s extremely difficult to direct: it requires a director as brilliant as the writer.

Most of the time, this absolutely brilliant play, gives rise to “intellectual” stagings that are frighteningly slow, without charm, without rythm, without humour. But on the other hand there were beautiful white masks that hooded the heads.
In fact, Pirandello is like Shakespeare: he can’t stand bad directors.

Because in fact, this play, it puts you on stage 6 characters who absolutely need to find an author to tell their story.
In front of them, there are actors, who play their role as actors and who do not agree with this principle. The two groups argue, that’s where it can be funny and vigorous – the text allows it – shows it!

And then pretty soon it becomes a nameless imbroglio where everyone is lost: what is true? what is fiction? what has started? the chicken or the egg?

The story of these characters is appalling: at the beginning of their lives, they all thought they were doing the right thing – and in the end, they would have been better off doing nothing… and all the ignored or forgotten family secrets obviously end badly.

But it is not the story of the characters that is important: this is a fairly classic dramatic story. It’s the look of the others on stage – the actors, the director, the stagehand making his adjustments. And that’s where this play becomes exceptional.

What I like in this version (I’m French, I’m not going to judge the tone of the actors ) is their choice of staging, which allows to keep lightness. They are young, they have everything to prove and nothing to ‘save’… a great advantage over us old people :

Performed in the Drama Barn by University of York DramaSoc.

It is this very curious game between what is true and what is not, what is agreed and what breaks the rules, what is said and what is done – that makes this work “legendary” – and therefore it will be impossible not to program Pirandello for Altair.

In any case, this is the kind of play that sets a theatre in the small world of theatre people. To propose Pirandello is to have the shoulders for it.

I’m inaugurating my summer series: The most difficult plays.
For a lot of reasons, some plays are cult and seem unplayable. They are challenges.
Altair only likes challenges.
Once a week, a piece that is “too” difficult to play.

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Featured Image : His Girl Friday – 1940 – Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell& Ralph Bellamy, directed by Howard Hawks. Why these three? Because you need actors of their level to play Pirandello. What could be more pleasant than an incredible actor playing to be an actor? Nothing at all.

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