Thursday, December 06, 2012

"Six Characters in Search of an Author": can someone live forever as a playwright's (or screenwriter's) character?


Imagine that you and maybe other members of your family or social cohort have experienced some kind of irreversible tragedy. You have become nameless, even forgotten.  You wander in an underworld, maybe as troubadours. You find a theater company.  You expect that you can be reborn as characters in a play. Then you realize someone, an author, has to play god, and give you karma, lifeforce, purpose.  You will live in a small world set up in the mind of another. 

That’s the precept of “Six Characters in Search of an Author”, an experimental play (90 min) by Luigi Pirandetto, translated into English by Carl B. Muetter, directed by Tom Prewitt.  It plays in the Black Box Theater at the Artisphere in Arlington VA, through December 9, 2012. 

My own idea is that the characters could wind up living inside a model railroad, or perhaps in a website or Second Life. 

The stage was arena-style, with seats on two sides of a square.  The actors could be extremely close to some of the audience, like one or two seats away. You could hear them talking in low undertones.  The stagecraft was simple, with a lot of plywood works, some old furniture, some garden stuff, and a violin.

There are fourteen players in the whole production, about half in the supposed theater  company, and about half are homeless, looking to become their own characters in someone’s play.

Could one attain immortality this way?  Or is one the same person in someone else’s model world than he was before?  Can identities merge and be experienced as one?  These are some of the questions the script poses.  Stephen Hawking could take a shot at them.

The link for the play, presented by WSC Avant Bard, is here.

The cast includes Bruce Alan Raucscher, Jon Jon Johnson, Liz Dutton, Liz Dutton.   


This play would lend itself to indie film. IMDB says it was a TV movie in 1976. But it fits into an ambitious genre in the movies if it ever happens (like "Cloud Atlas", "Tree of Life", "Inception", Judas Kiss", etc.)  Maybe Tom Tykwer or Christopher Nolan would like this.  

The music at the end sounded a bit like Poulenc  - a bit eclectic.  

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