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Six Characters in Search of an Author

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  12,267 ratings  ·  479 reviews
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. ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published July 11th 1997 by Dover Publications (first published March 9th 1921)
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3.84  · 
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 ·  12,267 ratings  ·  479 reviews

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"When a character is born, he acquires at once such an independence, even of his own author, that he can be imagined by everybody even in many other situations where the author never dreamed of placing him; and so he acquires for himself a meaning which the author never thought of giving him."

This is true for almost all of my favourite books. I often disagree with the initial thoughts the authors had when they created their stories, as I form my own distinctive ideas about the characters while r
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore = Six Characters in Search of an Author, Luigi Pirandello
Six Characters in Search of an Author (Italian: Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore) is an Italian play by Luigi Pirandello, written and first performed in 1921.
An acting company prepares to rehearse the play The Rules of the Game by Luigi Pirandello. As the rehearsal is about to begin, they are unexpectedly interrupted by the arrival of six strange people. The Director of the play, furious at the interruptio
Riku Sayuj
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Riku by: Alan

Six Characters in Search of a Stage

Presents a comic (tragic?) and confusing cast of six enigmatic characters seeking an author who can put them inside a 'book'.

They need this badly, so that they can live where they are born to live -- on the stage, and away from this off-stage world of ordinary people, without 'drama' inborn in them. They stumble on a stage and almost manages to get a director to present their story too.

But in the end their play does not manage to get presented -- because how
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: imaginary people
Recently, casually, a friend mentioned who he thinks I am. It was not at all who I think I am! Among other things, his version of me - inexplicably - is not a Viking. I'm pretty sure he was projecting there, but how would I know? Is there anyone less qualified to interpret me than me?

Pirandello's absurdist 1921 play is about how we create our own realities: how each of us choose to play a character, to such an extent that we sometimes sit outside ourselves, watching our characters act out their
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: italy, fiction, humor, play
This made for a whimsical and thought provoking “read” by LibriVox audiobook. A family of six wanders into a theater where a director and cast are rehearsing a play by Pirandello (in which they complain “nobody understands anything, and where the author plays the fool with us all”). The Father and Mother (names unspecified) explain they and their children are Characters in the middle of a drama that is in sore need of an author to make it real and bring some resolution to their story. Though the ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays-drama
Who is Luigi Pirandello?

A twentieth century writer from Sicily.

A Noble Prize winner.

I had never heard of him.

This play, ‘Six characters in search of an Author’ is just great.

Pirandello wrote this apparition, an invention without oxygen, atop Mt. Etna, or so it seems. Like life, it is completely absurd. More cannot be packed into so few pages. I am still shaking my head.

A pinch of tragedy, doses of satire, an undercurrent of philosophy throughout, complex and detailed actors and their exchanges,
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jacob Overmark

Stop, wait! It was the Six Characters in Search of an Author!
Well, there actually is a connection. Milo Manara was the reason I first got acquainted with Luigi Pirandello.

Now that I have fought my way through the play a few song lines pops up in my head.
"Wooords doooont come eeeasy tooo meee …" & "Whats the fuzz, tell me what is happening?"

I can easily see the chocking effect it had when first performed, even I dont quite get that the good people of Milan should be so much more open-minded
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this. That’s the only review I can write. Whether you’re a writer or a reader, read this.
Book Wyrm
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Book Wyrm by: Good Reads Poll
Shelves: between-the-wars
During a rehearsal for a Pirandello play that all actors and the manager can't stand, a family of six orphaned Characters invade the theatre and demand to be realised on the stage.

This play made me feel stupid and I loved it for that, throwing heavy ideas about the nature of literature and the 'concept of self' at my head in a chaotically paced barrage of reverse fourth wall breaking. There's a lot to say about this piece and I lament that I feel too much of an obtuse prat to do it justice, conv
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italian-lit, plays
THE FATHER: [With dignity but not offended] A character, sir, may always ask a man who he is. Because a character has ready a life of his own, marked with his especial characteristics; for which reason he is always "somebody". But a man- I'm not speaking of you now- may very well be "nobody".

This is one of the most "meta" plays I've ever read, and that's saying something considering the oddball pieces of drama I've come across before. However, Six Characters manages to be unorthodox without bei
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of my all-time favorite plays. I like Pirandello because his works wrestle with the same questions in different ways and Six Characters in Search of an Author is probably the best exploration of the questions that he's most concerned with. It makes the audience question the nature of theatre and their place as people getting enjoyment from the suffering of others, even if those others are imaginary characters. On a larger level, it asks how the act of observation changes reality and ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2k15
'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.'

As the title suggests, the storyline is loosely based on 6 characters who want to vocalize themselves to any author who would give life to them. They enter a rehearsal studio, where a play is unfolding and ask the Director to become their author. Even when the Director objects, they start to narrate their story and after he is intrigued, he accepts
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, translated
Six characters walk into a theater and ask for an author to 'dramatize' their story. What starts as an absurd interruption to an ongoing rehearsal, enters the realm of bizarre when the characters demand their story be played as they are characters and cannot play it themselves. A fairly complex narrative and a troublesome shifting of perspectives, the play is better seen than read.

Pirandello extends the philosophical argument of "everyone wears masks" by giving life to "fictional" characters. We
Characteristically Tall

“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.”

Absurdity? Lunacy? Whimsicality? Perhaps all this and well, all this not!

This delightful play has a rather unique premise. A set of theatre actors are about to rehearse a play when six “characters” come unannounced and demand that their story be told. They express their utter condescension on being orphaned by their “Author
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Father: 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.
Dhanaraj Rajan
It is an interesting concept and creatively executed to its finesse by Luigi Pirandello.

It is a play in which six abandoned characters (apparently abandoned by another author in the midst of the creative process) go in search of an author to get a LIFE/to become REAL. In their search they come across a drama troupe that is ready to do a rehearsal for a play. The encounter between the characters and the actors form the rest of the play.

Obviously it is a play in which the drama critic of Pirandel
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is by far THE best play I have ever read (not that I have read too many to compare it with, but I did plow through a dozen of classical plays -mainly initially written and performed in French- in high school and I still remember, very vividly, how boring and barely engaging they were).

This play is relatively fast and short; the style is not flowery, either. However, despite its fast paced style and succinctness, it is guaranteed to keep the readers cogitating while, and after, reading it.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"But isn't that the cause of all the trouble? Words! We all have a world of things inside ourselves and each one of us has his own private world. How can we understand each other if the words I use have the sense and value that I expect them to have, but whoever is listening to me inevitably thinks that those same words have a different sense and value, because of the private world he has inside himself too. We think we understand each other: but we never do. "
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A while back, when I made an attempt at creative writing, all the characters in my story seemed to be full of possibilities at first, and then became more and more willful and awry as the story progressed. I blamed this on my lack of foreplanning and writing experience, and usually just abandoned my creations that turned out like the unanticipated Frankenstein.

I got a similar feeling when I was acting or directing in our college drama club. At first reading, I'm clueless to what's facing me but
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
What did I just read???
This play is my pick for 1921 for #192019challenge and though the adaptation I got is modern, the spirit comes through.

A company of actors is practicing a play, when 6 people come in. They say they are characters left unfinished by their author, and they’re looking to set their story down.
The actors oblige them.

What ensues is a whirlwind of mindf$&!ery that shows the shadow side of creation.
I’d love to see this done live.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
just amazing.
this is not a play for pleasure as Pirandello himself says in the preface, this is his philosophy of literature. this is a picture of all the troubles which writers go through when creating a story. at the end the question is still there. is literature fiction or reality? is it the creation of the author or the author is just a means for writing whatever the characters imply?
Sep 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this satirical, twisting look at theatre and the nature of reality. The characters each have competing views of the reality of their drama, just as people in real life have differing views of the same event. The play-within-a-play staging sets up a self-referentiality that I found at once thought-provoking and hilarious. A wonderful play that I highly recommend.
Logan LeDuc
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it
It was....confusing. Definitely one of the more bizarre pieces read for my Modern Western lit course.
Valentina Markasović
This drama (tragedy? comedy?) took me by surprise. I didn't expect to like it that much. It played games with my mind, but in the end, I still feel more real than the 6 Characters.
Dec 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own, plays
I think that this play has the best example of how creativity works. There are ideas (or characters) that seems to come from nowhere and demand to be recognized. I loved this play.
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: performance
This absurdist play is dense, but so totally dench. A director and his company are preparing to rehearse the second act of Pirandello’s play Rules of the Game, barely able to get in 5 lines progress out of the rehearsal before the enigmatic Six Characters interrupt and take over as if they’re the descendants of the Ancient Mariner, burdened to the point they have to unburden themselves again and again. A Father, a Mother, their legitimate Son, and the mother’s three children from another marriag ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, french, italy
When six characters come to life but are refused by their author, they go looking for another person to write their story down. They barge into a rehearsal session of a Pirandello play and what ensues is a brilliant reflection on the status of characters, actors and authors in literary texts, and more specifically theatre.

'Sei Personaggi' reads like a comedy, is rich in hilarious moments but is in fact a drama. The six characters insist on the fact that their story is a rich drama waiting to be
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting play written in three acts. The entire proceedings take place at a theatre where an acting company have got together to rehearse a play by Pirandello. As is usually the case, this is by-the-book rehearsal when they are interrupted by the arrival of six Characters. These six Characters, you see, are in search of an author because the author who created them was not able to put them on stage. They convince the manager for opportunity to try out their drama. What follows is t ...more
Marcia Letaw
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While I was supposed to be reading The Fish Can Sing, I snuck off into a different room of my house or brain as the case may be and took up with Luigi Pirandello's kick ass play: Six Characters in Search of an Author. Now having just finished, that same brain I just mentioned is in highly active mode having been exposed to such marvelously inspiring philosophical discussion in the guise of comedy. Here I shall treat you with a quote or two to get across just what you who venture across the thres ...more
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Luigi Pirandello; Agrigento 28 June 1867 – Rome 10 December 1936) was an Italian dramatist, novelist, poet, and short story writer whose greatest contributions were his plays.
He was awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize in Literature for "his almost magical power to turn psychological analysis into good theatre.
Pirandello's works include novels, hundreds of short stories, and about 40 plays, some of whic
“Life is full of strange absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.” 1054 likes
“THE FATHER: But don't you see that the whole trouble lies here? In words, words. Each one of us has within him a whole world of things, each man of us his own special world. And how can we ever come to an understanding if I put in the words I utter the sense and value of things as I see them; while you who listen to me must inevitably translate them according to the conception of things each one of you has within himself. We think we understand each other, but we never really do.” 106 likes
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