LuigiPirandello’s play Six Characters in Searchof an Author is a play that focuses on its own fictional status as atheatrical pretence. The play was originally written in Italian with three actsand was published in the year 1921 and Edward Storer later translated it intoEnglish. This drama is an absurdist metatheatrical one. With the creation ofthis play, Pirandello as a playwright had taken away the traditional methods oftheatrical performances.Theplay represents the arrival of six characters in search of an author comes from’nowhere’. The sudden coming of the characters created a great stir among theaudience.
The actors include the Father, the Mother, the Son, thestep-daughter, the Boy and the Child. On the stage a rehearsal of thePirandello’s Mixing It Up was goingto take place when they came. The characters referred their drama as somethingcannot be enacted on the conventional theatre. Analyzing the dialogues of thecharacters we can understand that their main concern is theatre andacknowledging the theatrical situation.
This often reveals the metadramatic explorationof the nature of the theatre. Theassociation between the author (creator) and the characters (created) isclearly portrayed in this play. The six characters were abandoned by theircreator, at this point they felt disappointed.
However, they go in search ofanother author who will be able to accomplish their wishes. This situationthrows light into the relation between creator and the created. Moreover, theauthorial betrayal does not make them as victims since they can be realized byan another author.
As far as Pirandello is concerned, the actors need to berecognized by their author. Hence he allowed one of his characters to say thatone must have luck to be born as a character in a play. Regarding the earliercharacters of other plays their roles are passive, give way to the author. Theybelieved that whatever the author has done will be in favour of the plot andthem. In this drama, the manager agreed to stage the characters’ drama and wassupposed to put the props.
The stepdaughter criticized the manager for standingin favour of the author. Inmost modern contexts, characters are in want of recognition and they show theirresponses too. They are also ready to point out their objection againstauthorial upper hand. Their inclination to freedom leads to estrangement and alienation.Ina way the play is self-reflexive as it openly showcases the processes behindthe artful composition. The concept of ‘absurdity’ in the drama made it tostand by its own. The manager in the play divides the drama into acts to thestepdaughter and the Father.
A play inside a play, is to give way to manyillusions through the actions. It aids in the recognition of elements such asartificiality, absurdity, strangeness. The idea of foregrounding is alsoemployed in this work. The discussion on theatre and theatrical aspects is abetter way to enact the lived emotions of the characters which adds to thecredo of the play. So it is said to be a ‘meta-theatre’.Theplay at large focuses on the absurdity and many aspects of life. Meaningless actionsand irrational dialogues makes no significance to the comprehension of theviewers, however theater of absurdity is full of that. The titular charactersin the play have no names and they are addressed according to their positionsin the family.
As characters they believe that their existence is only for thesake of the drama and even claim as they are alive characters.