John Medina '18 is reading...

Six Characters in Search of an Author
By: Luigi Pirandello

I took a course on 20th century Italian theater while studying in Bologna, Italy, with no expectations and I left with a love for Pirandellian humor. Before reading Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore, I read other plays by Luigi Pirandello, L’uomo dal fiore in bocca (The Man with the Flower in his Mouth) and Enrico IV (Henry IV) which had consistent themes of insanity and broken family structures due to mental illness, both issues Pirandello dealt with for most of his adult life with his wife. So I finally decided to read Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore (Six Characters in Search of an Author) in which Pirandello presents similar psychoanalytic themes such as ideas of self and identity. This seemed interesting to me, especially the idea of people wearing masks in order to give off a way in which they want to interact with society. Pirandello argued that the only case in which people can be free of these masks is through madness. Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore embodies the literal representation of people wanting to put on masks to please others and the drama of a dysfunctional family–I live to read this kind of drama. An idea that stuck with me and I’m not sure if it’s what Pirandello was trying to do, but I found myself feeling uncomfortable to laugh at certain parts of the play that were funny but pretty dark (Pirandellian humor). I definitely recommend this play to anyone looking to read something different that will invite many thoughts about oneself and society. If you want to feel uncomfortable while laughing, this play is also for you.

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