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One of the major figures of modern theater, Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936) wrote dramas and satires that sparked controversy with their radical departures from conventional theatrical techniques. His most celebrated work, Six Characters in Search of an Author, embodies the Nobel Prize-winning playwright's innovations by presenting an open-ended drama on a stage without sets.
First performed in 1923, this intellectual comedy introduces six individuals to a stage where a company of actors has assembled for a rehearsal. Claiming to be the incomplete, unused creations of an author's imagination, they demand lines for a story that will explain the details of their lives. In ensuing scenes, these "real-life characters," all professing to be part of an extended family, produce a drama of sorts — punctuated by disagreements, interruptions, and arguments. In the end they are dismissed by the irate manager, their dilemma unsolved and the "truth" a matter of individual viewpoints.
A tour de force exploring the many faces of reality, this classic is now available in an inexpensive edition that will be welcomed by amateur theatrical groups as well as students of drama.