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November 19, 1982 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-19
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



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the interaction between story, charac-
ters, and actors is Pirandello's most
important way of dealing with
questions of reality.
Speaking with the Producer, the
Father and his Stepdaughter explain
what has happened so far in their
"Story." Infidelity, a close brush with
incest, and inability to communicate ef-
fectively have tortured the Characters.
As they fill in details of the story, the
Producer, an ambitious young hot-shot
played by freshman Jeff Casper, finds
the Story intriguing; he decides to turn
it into a play.
The attempt to produce the story as a
play confuses the Characters. They
cannot understand theatrical conven-
of the Story-with each actor assuming
the role of one of the Characters, the
Characters object. The Stepdaughter
insists that only she can play herself on
stage; the actress who attempts to play
her has it all wrong.
To the actors and the Producer, the
Story is only a script, a plot to use to
"realistically" act out an imaginary
story. But to the Characters, the Story
is real; it has happened, and is hap-

pening to them. Which is real, the ac-
tors acting out the story to create an
illusion of reality to the audience, or the
fictional Characters sprung to life, and
living out their fictional story? When
the audience then considers its own role
in the matter, and that the whole play is
part of a larger story, the
multiplication of levels of reality and
their intersection leaves the audience
confused and frustrated.
Even Pirandello himself was unsure
which was real. The six Characters, the.
family, in Six Characters in Search of
an Author were six characters from an
unfinished Pirandello short story. He
wrote of them once, "Without having
made any effort to seek them out, I
found them before me, alive-the six
characters now seen on stage. . . Born
alive, they wished to live."
Pirandello's daughter Lietta remem-
bers how her father was "a blazing fur-
nace, as if an entire secret world
existed within him.. . He would discuss
his characters with us as if they were
real people."
One drama critic, after a long inter-
view with Pirandello, concluded that
the hallucinatory characters dictated to
Pirandello, making him write out their

story.
Parallel to Pirandello's theme of
theatre and reality is the theme of
psychological masking. Pirandello's
Characters cannot express their inner
reality to others. We know each other,
Pirandello argues, only by our actions;
our true inner world remains hidden.
And whatever we try to communicate is
filtered through the subjective
viewpoint of the person to whom we are
communicating.
The Father, for example, is a
philosophical intellectual. Yet the
other Characters see him as a sexual
libertine, obsessed with lust. The others
see the Father as sensual because of a ,
single, isolated incident of mistaken
identity, when he almost committed in-
cest with his Stepdaughter.
Pirandello faced a similar problem in
his own life. His menatlly ill wife An-
tonietta convinced herself that he had
had incestuous relations with his
daughter Lietta.
Professor Peter Ferren plays the
Father. A University drama teacher for
the past fifteen years, Prof. Ferren has
returned to acting after several years
of absence from the stage. Director
Dan Gordon feels that Professor

Ferren's por
depth and m
talented youi
the role of an
Despite ti
Characters,
production of
perience for
Gordon's pla
debate, but t
characters to

cia Guest APPearc
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For fur
FRIDA
A mug
with pa
Subs
Mid
7,

F(EAI0INMG IT'

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