Luigi Pirandello

Plays by Luigi Pirandello

Absolutely! (Perhaps)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Absolutely! (Perhaps) is a sparkling comedy on the elusive nature of reality, in which truth is negotiable and identity is performed. It is an adaptation of Luigi Pirandello’s first play Così è (Se Vi Pare), and opened at the Wyndham’s Theatre in 2003.

In a small Italian town lives Signor Ponza, his wife and his apparent mother-in-law Signora Frola, who he will not allow to visit. With the neighbours gossiping over his cruelty, Signor Ponza claims that Signora Frola is mad and refusing to accept that her daughter is dead, and that he now lives with his second wife. Signora Frola counters the accusation, claiming that Ponza has unwittingly re-married his first wife. Impossibly, the Signora Ponza in question claims to be both daughter and second wife, plunging the play into a tangle of fractious theatricality.

Six Characters Looking for an Author

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author is an extraordinary and influential play, a sharp-edged labyrinth of humour, pity and profundity. This text, entitled Six Characters Looking for an Author, is a new version by David Harrower.

Six people arrive in a theatre during rehearsals for a play. They are the characters of a play that has not yet been written. Trapped inside a traumatic event from which they long to escape, they desperately need a writer to complete their story and release them. Intrigued by their situation, the director and his company of actors listen as the characters begin to describe and argue over the key events of their lives.

Pirandello’s play deals at one level with the nature of theatre, the mystery of imaginative creativity and the clashes between life and art, and at another with the suffering of humanity, the bitterness of family breakdown and the pathology of guilt.

Six Characters in Search of an Author caused a riot when it was first produced in Rome in 1921, and was banned in Britain until 1928. Harrower’s version premiered in 2001 at the Young Vic Theatre, London.

Picture of Luigi Pirandello

Luigi Pirandello was born in Sicily in 1867 and died in Rome in 1936, where he had first settled as a professional writer in 1893. The following year he married a woman whose mental health collapsed in 1904 leading finally to her commitment to an asylum in 1919.

He was already well-known as a novelist and critic before achieving international recognition as a playwright with Absolutely! (Perhaps) - originally translated as Right You Are! (If You Think You Are) in 1917, The Rules of the Game (1918), Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921), Henry IV (1922), The Man with the Flower in his Mouth (1923), As You Desire Me (1930), Each in His Own Way (1924) and Tonight We Improvise (1929), the last two forming a trilogy with Six Characters.

Of his forty-three plays, over half are adaptations from his own short stories written during the most difficult period of his life (1910-1918). He established and directed his own theatre in Rome, the Teatro D'Arte (1925-1928), and in 1934 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.