Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Modern Dramatic Experimentalism (Part 2 of 3)

To read Part 1, follow the link:

In “Six Characters in Search of an Author”, Pirandello is writing about ‘a play within a play’, the idea itself is odd and is unconventional so that the oddness is not only in how it’s presented. The absence of the author throughout the whole play and not at all appearing at any point (unlike the characters) makes the audience wonder what the author’s aim is and what’s he intending. It forces the audience to think about the author to the extent that the author almost haunts the characters, the actors, stage manager and even the audience.

“Ridiculous? Ridiculous? Is it my fault if France won't send us any snore good comedies, and we are reduced to putting on Pirandello's works, where nobody understands anything, and where the author plays the fool with us all?”, The Stage Manager said (Six Characters in Search of an Author).

There’s also a very interesting part in the play where the Father ponders upon the act that defines him as a character (i.e. the reality of his character). 

“We have this illusion of being one person for all, of having a personality that is unique in all our acts. But it isn't true. We perceive this when, tragically perhaps, in something we do, we are as it were, suspended, caught up in the air on a kind of hook. We perceive that all of us was not in that act, and that it would be an atrocious injustice to judge us by that action alone, as if all our existence were summed up in that one deed”, the Father said (Six Characters in Search of an Author).

The idea of the play is so eccentric that one can’t think of any other way this idea could have been presented. The idea conveyed is mainly that the theatre (being a medium of story-telling that captures our imaginations) is at the end of the day limited and can’t tell you the whole truth; it also raises such important questions as how to define human existence. I suppose Pirandello decided to write in an experimental form and defied conventional logic because this way is the only creative and interesting way to provoke people to think about serious matters in life like reality and delusion and the nature of the theatrical world itself. Pirandello presents characters that aren’t fully developed; he intentionally does that to highlight certain characters so that the audience knows that the key roles are the Father and the Step daughter because these are the two who have different stories (i.e. we don’t know the truth). Just like Beckett, Pirandello too isn’t trusting “meaning”; he breaks down the possibility of meaning itself, he rather concentrates on the bigger picture (the enactment of it). The dysfunctional family we see in “Six Characters in Search of an Author” is rejecting any schemes as to how the play could move forward and yet they need some sort of closure to their story thus contradicting themselves.


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