Thisplay by Luigi Pirandello is a playthat focuses on its own fictional status as a theatrical pretence. The play wasoriginally written in Italian with three acts and was published in the year1921 and Edward Storer later translated it into English.
This drama is anabsurdist metatheatrical one. With the creation of this play, Pirandello as aplaywright had taken away the traditional methods of theatrical performances.Theplay represents the arrival of six characters in search of an author. The suddencoming of the characters created a great stir among the audience.
The actorsinclude the Father, the Mother, the Son, the step-daughter, the Boy and theChild. On the stage a rehearsal of the Pirandello’s Mixing It Up was going to take place when they came. This drama isa kind of play inside a play. The characters referred their drama as somethingcannot be enacted on the conventional theatre. Considering the dialogues of thecharacters we can understand that their main concern is theatre andacknowledging the theatrical situation. This often reveals the metadramaticexploration of the nature of the theatre. Whilereading the text we can connect this play to a modernistic one. The play triesto explore the idea of ‘before’ and ‘after’ rather thanexposition-development-resolution.
Some elements of realism can be traced outfrom the play. In a sense we can say there occurs a conflict between illusionand reality.Theassociation between the author (creator) and the characters (created) isclearly portrayed in this play. The six characters were abandoned by theircreator, at this point they felt disappointed. However, they go in search ofanother author who will be able to accomplish their wishes. This situationthrows light into the relation between creator and the created. Moreover, theauthorial betrayal does not make them as victims since they can be realized byan another author. As far as Pirandello is concerned, the actors need to berecognized by their author.
Hence he allowed one of his characters to say thatone must have luck to be born as a character in a play. Regarding the earliercharacters of other plays their roles are passive, give way to the author. Theybelieved that whatever the author has done will be in favour of the plot andthem. In this drama, the manager agreed to stage the characters’ drama and wassupposed to put the props. The stepdaughter criticized the manager for standingin favour of the author. Inmost modern contexts, characters are in want of recognition and they show theirresponses too. They are also ready to point out their objection againstauthorial upper hand. Their inclination to freedom leads to estrangement andalienation.
Ina way the play is self-reflexive as it openly showcases the processes behindthe artful composition. The concept of ‘absurdity’ in the drama made it tostand by its own. The manager in the play divides the drama into acts to thestepdaughter and the Father. A play inside a play, is to give way to many illusionsthrough the actions. It aids in the recognition of elements like comic themes,absurdity, strangeness. The idea of foregrounding is also employed in thiswork.
The discussion on theatre and theatrical aspects is a better way to enactthe lived emotions of the characters which adds to the credo of the play. So itis said to be a ‘meta-theatre’.Theplay at large focuses on the absurdity and many aspects of life. Meaninglessactions and irrational dialogues makes no significance to the comprehension ofthe viewers, however theater of absurd is full of that. The titular charactersin the play have no names and they are addressed according to their positionsin the family. As characters they believe that their existence is only for thesake of the drama and even claim as they are live characters.