“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.” – The Father in Six Characters in Search of an Author, by Luigi Pirandello.
Did you ever wonder If Snoopy and Charlie Brown questioned the existence of Charles Shultz or if Romeo prayed to Shakespeare? What is the true relationship between writers, the characters they create and the actors who play them? Are fictional characters simply the figments of a writer’s imagination and are actors just puppets or do these characters somehow exist in their own parallel universe?
From now until Sunday December 21, 2014 The Actor’s Conservatory presents Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author at the Firehouse Theater. The play tells the story of a family of unfinished fictional characters who have been abandon by their original author. One day they wander into the rehearsal of one of Mr. Pirandello plays and demand that he writes a conclusion for each of them.
The director and the family members have an immediate problem with each other as the director wants them to be portrayed by actors when they feel that they should play themselves. The play details a constant struggle between fiction and reality as well as artist and their art.
The characters constantly squabble with the playwright and the director over what kind of jobs they have and what kind of fate they should meet.
The play also examines the concept of communication between people and the way we often misunderstand each other based on the way we see ourselves and the way others see us.
The play was originally produced in Italy in 1921 and was considered very avant-guard. It is most often performed on a bare stage with no scenery.
Luigi Pirandello was a Sicilian playwright who often wrote about the subject of Identity and about characters who seemed to be having a crisis with it. His work often explored the battle between reality and imagination.
Mr. Pirandello works include To Clothe the Naked which deals with a woman trying to hide who she is by taking on many different personalities and then finally dying alone and naked. Characters in his plays tend to suffer for letting their fantasies and ill-conceived perceptions of themselves take over their lives.
Mr. Pirandello was a member of the Fascist Party and served under Mussolini as the artistic director of the reparatory company Teatro d’Arte di Roma for three years where he learned virtually every aspect of theatrical production.
The Actor’s Conservatory is a thirty-year-old institution whose mission is, “To provide rigorous actor training that engages the mind and heart of the artist, while cultivating a spirit of lifelong investment in the arts.”
The Actor’s Conservatory offers a two year certification program which includes training in the fundamentals of acting during the first year of study, as well as scene study and performance in the second year.
The Firehouse Theater is housed in the very first firehouse in the city of Portland. The Actor’s Conservatory stewards the space along with WellArts which is an organization that “provides people living with physical illness, mental illness, and other life-altering events with the opportunity to create theatre out of their experiences.
Six Characters in Seach of an Author continues its run from Thursday, December 18 to Sunday, December 21, 2014. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices range from $5.00 to $25.00.
Eliza Gale – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor
Eliza Gale began her blogging career interviewing aspiring actors and industry professionals on a Los Angeles based website called Curvewire. She started www.elizagalesintervviews in 2012 and has interviewed over three hundred people about their jobs and businesses since then. She has contributed many interviews to 360drinks.com, which is a Portland based happy-hour website. She also writes for Examiner.com and AXS.com.