Six characters search for an author

Nicole Hennessy

Play blurs lines of reality and fantasy

The “Six Characters” Grant Cole, Joe Dunn, Amanda Morrow, Hannah Storch, Anna Bradley and Casey Braun of the upcoming show “Six Characters in Search of an Author”, written by Luigi Pirandello, form an intense group at dress rehearsal. Performances are Nov

Credit: DKS Editors

The actor playing the director is directing the actors playing the actors who are acting.

Six characters dressed in black appear on the set, and as “the father,” who is played by Joe Dunn, explains in his dialogue, “we (the characters) are looking for an author, any author.”

Katherine Burke, the play’s director, explained these characters’ plights.

“Their author dreamed them up but never wrote them down so they need a script,” she said.

This play, “Six Characters in Search of an Author,” written by Luigi Pirandello in the 1920s explores themes regarding reality.

The play takes place at a rehearsal for another play. The actors playing the actors have non-linear conversations, which flow as they dress for their rehearsal.

The unnamed characters have been conceived by an author’s imagination, but they have been abandoned. With their stories left untold, they remain in a state of grief.

“If you’ve ever had an idea for a story and then you completely forget about it, it is always there,” said Amanda Morrow, who plays “the child.” “(The characters are) like ghosts doomed to relive each moment over and over again because it can never end.”

Burke found the benches, chairs, scarves, pillows, fake flowers and coat rack that comprise much of the set in thrift stores, and the wardrobe is from the cast’s own closets.

“We started with just reading and discussing what the play is about-what it means to exist, what it means to be real,” Burke said as she remembered beginning working on this production just one month ago. “It is a very low budget, bare-bones production.”

Morrow’s character remains silent throughout the entire show, “but she’s always present and acknowledged by the other characters,” Morrow said.

In the show her brother, “the son,” also doesn’t speak.

“They’re (the child and the son) there, but they’re not there,” Morrow said. “They cling to the characters in order to further their grief.”

Each character is slightly underdeveloped and under-created, Morrow added. They are not looking to further their stories, but to act out what they are or have become.

“Each of them is missing something, whether it be a heart, they just don’t care, compassion or a grip on what’s going on,” Morrow explained. “The child is missing

Another aspect of reality addressed by this play is the notion that each person has more than one reality.

“Do we have more than one personality?” Burke said. “Are you the same person all the time? Or are you many different people?”

The audience, who will surround the set, will become part of the production.

“The audience will participate as well,” Burke said. “Blurring the audience and the actors (furthers) that idea of blurring reality and fantasy.”

In other shows, the audience is simply a mass of spectators, but in this show, “we acknowledge their existence, “Morrow said.

She explained what the audience’s reactions might be during the performance, “Is it real or is it not? Wait, what’s going on?” she said.

These blurred lines are intended to create a feeling of slight confusion or uneasiness.

“The only acting we do is in the roles we’ve been given in life,” Dunn’s dialogue continues. “A character is always somebody, but a person can be nobody.”

It is snippets of the whole, such as lines like these, that allow the philosophical themes to fully divulge themselves.

Contact performing arts reporter Nicole Hennessy at [email protected].