Pirandello: Six Characters in Search of an Author -- analysis, dramatic elements, dramatis personae, themes (with textual reference), genre, synopsis, setting

Essay by SauronUniversity, Master'sA, June 2003

download word file, 4 pages 2.3

Six Characters in Search of an Author

By: Luigi Pirandello

GENRE: Italian Drama - theatre of the grotesque

SETTING: Daytime, the present, the stage of a theatre

THEMES: How does one define reality/truth?

"At least admit that the actress who will play her will be less true than what you see before your very eyes" (Father, II)




MotherLeading Man

StepdaughterLeading Lady

SonSecond Female Lead

Boy (mute role)Ingenue

Little Girl (mute role)Juvenile

Madam PaceOld Character Lady

Other Actors and Actresses

Stage Door Man

First Stage Manager

Second Stage Manager


Roles for 9 men and 8 women plus other minor characters.


A theatre company is preparing to rehearse one of Pirandello's plays, "which no one understood when it was written and which makes even less sense today" (Director, I). Before they are able to begin, however, the Characters enter and explain who they are, and that the author that created them had not been able to finish their play, and that they were in search of someone who would help them by finishing the job.

The director agrees, and the characters tell their story, demonstrating scenes that were to be played. Not long after the first scene is played, it appears that there is some disagreement between the Characters and the Company, regarding the direction that the scenes should take. The Characters argue that they way that the Company play their roles is not "real" enough, not "true" enough. Contrariwise, the Director argues that some license must be allowed for the physical and temporal restrictions that stage production puts on their "reality."

The Characters insist on continuing their demonstration, culminating in the suicide of the Boy. The Company is horrified, some believing the child to be truly dead, others insisting that it was a...