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Theatre department offers take on classic absurdist drama
Sunday, September 06, 2015

Theatre department offers take on classic absurdist drama

The Department of Theatre and Dance continues the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series with a classic absurdist work that was written by Italian dramatist Luigi Pirandello.

“Six Characters in Search of an Author” will be presented in Rockefeller Arts Center’s Bartlett Theatre on Nov. 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinée performance on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. Fredonia theatre and dance faculty member Dr. James Ivey is the director.

Written by Pirandello in 1921, the play is about an acting company in rehearsal that is interrupted by the arrival of six strange people – who turn out to be unfinished characters in search of an author to finish their story. “As Pirandello blurred the distinctions between the reality of the stage and the fictional world of the ‘six characters,’ he created a play that has endured in part due to its unique construction and the passion of the title characters,” Ivey said.

Ivey described Pirandello’s work as a “landmark play.” “Pirandello pushed the boundaries of theatrical expression as he dispensed with the standard drawing room comedies of his predecessors,” the director said.

The work made its way to the United States with both Broadway and off-Broadway productions – the most successful of which came in 1963, running for 529 performances and earning an Outer Critics Circle Award and three Obie Awards.

The Mainstage production is based on an adaption by Robert Brustein. It is recommended for mature audiences only.

Ivey said Bartlett Theatre provides a very good environment for the production. “Audience members should feel a very intimate relationship with the performers, as they will be in close proximity to each other,” he said. “A musical score by (Fredonia alumnus) Sean Doyle, former instructor of theory and composition, will be an interesting highlight to the event also.”

Samantha Nickel, a junior B.F.A. Production/Design major, designed the set for the play. “It will look as if a contemporary theatre company is in the middle of rehearsing a play,” Ivey said of the set. “As such, the setting will not seem to be complete or finished, but it will serve as an ideal background for what will seem like a ‘grand improvisation’ by Pirandello and his characters.”

Tickets are available at the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 and online at

“Six Characters in Search of an Author” is part of the 2015-16 Lake Shore Savings Season.

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