Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)
Six characters wanted to enter the stage in which a rehearsal was underway. But they were not allowed. Upon much persuasion and insistence, they were allowed to enter the stage. Having entered the stage they began to attract the attention of the manager and other actors. To the utter dismay of the manager and the actors, they said that they are not men or women, rather characters.
The manager was shocked to hear that those six persons are characters. Father claims that they are characters that they have carried a drama within them, that an inner passion has been guiding them, that they have a luck to be born as a character in a drama, and that they have been abandoned by their author. The manager dismissed their plea to be realized by an author. But upon their persistent plea the manager listened to them. The manager gradually becomes interested in their story. They were asked by the manager to unfold their story. From their brief storytelling the manager came to know that there is certainly some worth and depth in the story. So the manager decided to enact their story on the stage. In this regard, the manager preferred to play the role of an author whom six characters were seeking. Thus, both six characters and the manager, including some of the actors reached an agreement to perform their drama on the stage. Of all the stories embedded in six characters the manager was singularly interested in the story of the step daughter and the father. The father once made a sexual encounter with the step daughter who seems as a commercial sex trader in the house of Madame pace. This part of the story about the sexual encounter fascinated the manager. So they began to perform it.
In an attempt to perform the part of this story, the manager made the second lady lead the mother. The manager named the juvenile Lead, the son and the Leading lady the step-daughter. At this endeavor taken by the manager, the step daughter was dissatisfied. She enjoined that she herself must act. The manager interrupted her saying "it is the actor who acts. The only place for the character to exist is the book. The step daughter demands various items, props and the screen to be kept so that the stage resembles the house of Madame Pace where she worked as a prostitute. The manager reminds her that certain convention of the theatre must be considered before staging a drama.
When father said the manager sending actors to play the parts characters, father rejoined if actors are placed on the foot of character, what is to become of the characters' temperament, or their souls. In response to this rejoinder of the father, the manager insists that their souls take shape here in the actors. The manager, furthermore added that the characters can't exist as himself on the stage. The manner does not allow the characters to enter the stage to perform their drama themselves. But the characters are bent upon playing their parts themselves. Father claims that the actor will not absorb the character into himself.
The most striking disjuncture between the spectacle and the drama appears between the Actors and Characters. The wrapped mirroring between them is shown explicitly in the act Six Characters in Search of an Author refuses the notion that the Actor can assimilate characters as the father gently protests, no actor can absorb him into himself. By making his characters have substance, Pirandello has underscored the incommensurability between the two: they become bodies and souls independent of the actors. Thus, the character's interpretation by the actor becomes a process of the former's estrangement. The step - daughter can't recognize herself; the father's words start to ring uncertainly, even false, the mother might have a new name. Because he waxes philosophically on these dissonances, the father is accused of playing the critic.
In examining the relationship between the character and the actor Six characters in Search of an Author asserts the conclusive fact that actors can't represent characters, the world of characters, the emotional and sentimental depth of characters. In the play father, time and again asserts that everyone lives in his or her own world. It is impossible for others to penetrate the inner world and the inner reality of a person. In fathers view characters contain a purely personal and subjective world with subjective truth. Hence, the chance for the actors to know about the world of the characters does not arise.
See the following extract taken from act I "The father: But don't you see that the whole trouble lies here. In worlds, 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 even 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."