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Six Characters in Search of an Author and Other Plays
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Six Characters in Search of an Author and Other Plays

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,961 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Pirandello (1867-1936) is the founding architect of twentieth-century drama, brilliantly innovatory in his forms and themes, and in the combined energy, imagination and visual colours of his theatre.This volume of plays, translated from the Italian by Mark Musa, opens with Six Characters in Search of an Author, Pirandello's most popular and controversial work in which six ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 1st 1996 by Penguin Classics
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Nov 18, 2009 Jimmy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
The theater of Luigi Pirandello relentlessly begs the question, within a theatrical context, of what is realistic and what is fictional drama. An appropriate, recent example of Pirandello's influence at work is Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, NY, a film in which the main character Caden's attempt to make a theatre about "everything" results in a sort of solipsistic confusion about what he is actually experiencing and what is merely an acted out rendition of his past (or present for that matter). K ...more
Apr 14, 2011 Praj rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: lp
They say I was born in June. The day, the year somehow ceases to exist. I live with my mother. She stares at the wall, singing songs unnoticing my existence in the house. Is this how being an orphan feels like? I used to work at Madame Pace’s dress shop. Only it wasn’t a dress shop. It was a whore house where I used to entertain clients throughout the night. My mother was unaware of my earnings, but as if it mattered. Then, one day I fell in love. In fact, I fell in love with his eyes. The same ...more
A great work, perhaps the best play of the 20thC. And a standard for great art: Think you've written really well? Did the audience fight for 20 minutes at the end, divided between hostility and admiration? That's what happened 10 Maggio '21, Teatro Valle di Roma. (Interesting that around then Italy won a gold medal in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, but the Belgian band did not know the new Italian national anthem: they played O Sole Mio--and all the stands sang along. Unfortunately, the writer Capur ...more
Gertrude & Victoria
A farce! Six Characters in Search of an Author is a remarkable invention of genius by the Italian Nobel laureate, Luigi Pirandello, which mixes the real with the verisimilar, where a drama is acted out within a drama. In this work he explores the ambiguous nature of reality and truth.

This drama is in two acts, which can be read in around ninety minutes. A director and a company of actors are in preparation for their rehearsal. Then six people or characters - a father and his family - who have al
One of the most progressive writers of 20th. century with a wonderful revolutionary look on human and history.
ایده ی این نمایش برای سال های ابتدای قرن بیستم، یک نبوغ است که به
زیبایی ترسیم شده. یک کمپانی بازیگری می خواهد نمایش نامه ی "قوانین بازی" را تمرین می کند. با شروع تمرینات، شش نفر ناشناس، غیر منتظره وارد می شوند و یکی از آنها ادعا می کند که ما شخصیت های کامل نشده ای هستیم، در جستجوی نویسنده ای تا داستانمان را تکمیل کند. گروه بازیگران، ابتدا می پندارند این شش نفر دیوانه اند. اما همین که آن
Jon Deal
Jul 26, 2007 Jon Deal rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lit fan
Pirandello is awesome. Clever, witty and marvelous.

Somewhere in the world there is a picture of me next to his statue in Agrigento, Sicily, Italy.

I'd like to have that picture back. I was skinny and had hair back then.

Anyway, can't recommend Pirandello enough.
Elizabeth Pyjov
Masterpiece. HILARIOUS masterpiece.
Deborah Schuff
I had heard about the play Six Characters...and was interested in reading it but didn't really want to spend money buying yet another book. When I got a Kindle, I found this version and happily downloaded it. I found these plays to be very thought-provoking about the nature of reality and identity. Indeed, as the Nobel Prize site says:


"Pirandello is always preoccupied with the problem of identity. The self exists to him only in relation to others; it
Jun 12, 2013 Joseph added it
Shelves: 2004-2008, plays, 2013
I performed in "Six Characters..." and read "So it is (If you think so)" in college. The performing experience was brutal, a mixture of the awkwardness of the script and an ill-conceived production that lacked focus and meaning and even sense. The faint memory of "So it is" led me to pick up this collection again--a play that I remembered featuring gossipy neighbors and a purported story that changed every time a new character had their say completely convincing everyone that their perspective w ...more
The three plays in this collection are interesting because they are more about the concept over characterizing any characters, although the last play So it is (If you think so) is the most interested in its individual characters. Six Characters in Search of an Author is the most interesting concept, and the toughest to pull off, but Pirandello pulls it off rather well. The plays probably needs to be seen over being read (as all plays, but especially this one) as the words do not really create a ...more
Interesting idea of making Actors the characters and a separate set of Characters within the play, and I suppose it was new in the 1920's, but meh. I like the idea of exploring levels of truth- what's more real, life or art? But at the same time, the plot is a bit gimmicky. There are some powerful moments, but not many. I dunno, perhaps a little too intellectual and not emotional enough for me, along with a lack of impressive language. Then again, it is translated, so that doesn't really help.

Lamentablemente no está aquí una edición en español, ni siquiera una que sólo sea "Six Characters in Search of an Author" que es la única obra de Pirandello que leí.
Ahora sí, recomiendo leer esta obra de teatro. Derrocha ingenio y originalidad, nos pone en un mundo paradójico donde unos personajes de ficción interrumpen el ensayo de una obra de teatro. Lo que ellos reclaman es que su autor los ha abandonado y quieren ver concluída su historia, la cuál es dramática y estresante. Nosotros somos co
Greg Fanoe
Nobel Prize Project
Year: 1934
Winner: Luigi Pirandello

Review: I thought all these plays were good, Henry IV was probably my favorite. They all explore similar themes of the nature of truth. I dunno, I enjoyed them but they lacked the impact they probably had 90 years ago when they were written. To be honest, these may have worked better as philosophical essays than as dramas, there's just not much here that excites me.

Verdict: 80 years after his win, Luigi Pirandello is still widely read and love
Vildan Arıcan
That is totally awesome, which is actually hard to say when u face a modernist work. the first step is to be taken is the comprehensibility shunnin on ur cells. like many other modernist text, here we face a framed narrator( dunno whether I am able to call it like that due to the genre "drama"). what really strikes me that the most notable thing for a play to have a plausible audience, however, here we encounter some actors and actress as audience, and the characters are not born from the pages ...more
Garrett Zecker

Six Characters In Search of an Author is a critical examination of the limits of authorship and translation of an idea and story when breathing life into your characters. There is ultimately no way for an author to approach correctly and adequately extending a character and their life through the scope of a dialogue-only production, and the end result is only a surface interpretation that can easily be reinterpreted by a director to be nothing like the original intentions. As a play that came at
This was for my World Lit class, but how intriguing the concept that characters immortalized in a story are more real than the actors portraying them! The Father acts as the voice of the writer, protesting against an interpretation of his character, of the abandonment of his author's creation. The use of masks in this play is fascinating. Under-developed, perhaps, or serving as a contrast to the animate faces of the actors? Or to depict the frozen emotions employed as caricatures for the charact ...more
Of all the plays that I've read, and I've read quite a few, this is by far, my most favorite. It is not an easy competition: I have a deep seated love and loyalty for Tennessee Williams, but this piece of work is just too good to compare to any other. It goes beyond your basic dramatic plot, and really makes one think about the characters of a story. What happens when the story doesn't end, when the writer succumbs to writer's block or just abandons the composition? If you have never read this o ...more
Feb 06, 2011 Joyzi rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Weirdos who love to read classics
Recommended to Joyzi by: Teacher in Lit
It's the type of play wherein you were actually forced to read it and then you read it and then you gave up and then you just ask your classmates what's all about and then even they don't wanna read it and then you just have to use the last resort and that's to google it.

And hey I've found Goodreads because of it.

So maybe even if I really don't read it at least it has been a blessing in disguise.


Regardless of the earlier time period, this is as postmodern a work as Auster. Throughout, the author is winking at the audience and it’s rather fun to see. If it were longer, this may have gotten tiresome. It’s not a particular mind-bender, but forces the reader to construct the ‘play’ in his mind, as what goes on onstage is “rehearsal.” It reminds me of an un-funny and more existential “Noises Off.”
Graeme Hinde
I try to read plays sometimes because I feel like I should, but frankly I don't often enjoy it. This translation (Edward Storer, mid fifties) seemed stilted, but perhaps that was in the original. It's a clever idea, I guess, but I'm not really sure what Pirandello's point is. Something about the difference between characters and real people? I don't care.
Rating and review is just for "Six Characters in Search of an Author", which I read this morning. I believe I must re-read it sometime this week to get its full depth but I wish I had found it years ago. Maybe it's because I'm wrestling with my own existence right now, but it really spoke to me. I underlined several passages in my old paperback copy.
This play, made by Pirandello, is very philosophical indeed. He delved and dived deeper to define the definition of "reality." The basic questions that the story arises were: "Who am I?" and "What is real?" and he gave us a clear answer through this play. Hats down to one of the greatest writers of contemporary literature.
Superbly crafted scripts that reveal more of the audiences' prejudices and expectations than they do of the protagonists, all three plays in this collection somehow manage to leave the fourth wall intact whilst creeping out into the foyer for a sneaky snifter and leaving you alone with the existential dilemma.
Six Characters in Search of an Author annoyed me so much at first! It's a hard play to grasp at the beginning, but it starts to make sense and it's a unique play with an odd dynamic. Pirandello did a great job with the writing, he obviously knew what he was going for and it came out clear in the ending.
Naked Masks (5 plays) was the edition I have worked in the most, for teaching or for the PhD exams. Six Characters is still the best of them all, but I enjoy all the others in the group and believe I've seen most in Paris these past 10 years.
These plays are amazing. At the time, they were very controversial because of the inclusion of the participant. I have a harder time reconciling the author, because of his fascist ties, then his literary work. Quite magic and interesting.
Chris Holley

Contains one of my favourite quotes of all literature: Oh sir, you know well that life is full of infinite absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.
Another of my favorite reads from high school. I read just "Six Characters in Search of an Author" Rather abstract idea- 6 typecast characters are looking for someone to write a play with their parts.
These are so surreal, and in a good way. "So It Is (If You Think So)" was my favorite because it kept you guessing the entire time, but in the end, it's up to you really to figure out the truth.
Suresh Nair
Marathi writer Aarti Prabhu wrote a play based on 'Six Characters ..' named Ek Shoonya Bajirao which was directed by Vijaya Mehta. Hence my interest in reading the play.
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Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934 "for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art."
More about Luigi Pirandello...
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“Each of us, face to face with other men, is clothed with some sort of dignity, but we know only too well all the unspeakable things that go on in the heart.” 46 likes
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