Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)
It is from life, that art derives its basic sustenance and nourishment. Traditionally, it is held that art is the singular and single handed creation of an author. The work of art is under the control of an author who lives a real life. Pirandello does not believe in all these conceptions concerning the relationship between art and life.
To Pirandello, art can never be a representation of life. As actors can never absorb life of character, art can never be a representation of life. If art manages to be a representation of life, this representation lacks the totality of truth. Truth is truth, according to Pirandello. Life is life, according to him. In art, life can never be represented exactly as the manager's actors failed to perform the drama of six characters. In Pirandello's words, art is rooted in life; life exists at its full-fledged form in art. To the playwright the dividing line between art and life no longer remains as it was. For the dramatist, art, is the presentation of life. It is the lively forces and inner passions in life which hasten the birth of art. The long-established boundary between art and life has increasingly crisscrossed in the play.
When six characters reached the stage where the manager was instructing the actors to enact Mixing It Up six characters reached the stage and requested the manager to play an authorial role in realizing them as characters. They (six characters) were abandoned by their original authors. They, instead, told that they have carried within them a drama. This clearly shows that it is life which bears the burden of art. It seems the art has to rise from life. But those characters are insistent that there must come an author to actualize their dream to exist in art as characters with an immutable reality of their own. Art has been treated by Pirandello as that instrument which gives the finishing touch of perfection. By the same token the playwright treats life as the ultimate cradle out of which art emerges with distinct function of its own.
It seems Pirandello has experimented with the problematical relationship between art and life. From the viewpoint of six characters, their life has contained an art. According to them each of them, each of their lives has contained a drama that means an art. They are living being but they assert they are characters. Viewed from the managers and actors these so-called six are persons. They are living being. Through this problematical episode Pirandello hinted at the possibility that even life can become art. So far we have been told that art is representation of life. But Pirandello says that at a certain moment our life can become art. If life can become art, why go on clinging to the orthodox dichotomy between art and life. Pirandello is of the conviction that at a certain point in time and at a certain moment in life, art resembles life and life resembles art. Sometime they overlap also. But that does not mean they are one and same forever.
When we go on watching characters and the managers quarrelling over the nature of performance and the theatre, we indirectly reach an awakening that their entire quarreling and debate is itself a drama (an art) and the son, the mother, the boy and the child are the spectators. So it seems fair to admit the view of Pirandello that the context, the atmosphere and the changing nature, and the position of participants that fix the separate category of art and life. To out the whole matter short, this play is an experimental examination of the complicated relationship between art and life.