Six Characters in Search of an Author

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 10 September 2008, Opened 15 September 2008, Closed 8 November 2008 at the Gielgud Theatre in London

A major revival of Luigi Pirandello's play Six Characters in Search of an Author in London presented in a new version by Rupert Goold and Ben Power.

Six characters arrive unannounced during the editing of a documentary film. Unfinished characters desperately in search of an author, the documentary producer agrees to let them film their story - Six Characters in Search of an Author blurs the borders between fiction and life, between the stage and the world outside.

The cast for Six Characters in Search of an Author in London features Ian McDiarmid as 'The Father', Jamie Bower as 'The Actor', Eleanor David as 'The Mother' Noma Dumezweni as 'The Producer', Dyfan Dwyfor as 'The Son', Christine Entwisle as 'The Actress', Denise Gough as 'The Step-Daughter', Jake Harders as 'The Cameraman', Jeremy Joyce as 'Runner', John Mackay as 'The Executive', Freya Parker as 'The Girl' and Robin Pearce as 'The Editor'. It is directed by Rupert Goold with designs by Miriam Buether, lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, music and sound by Adam Cork and video and projections by Lorna Heavey. This production transfers to London's West End following a successful season at the Chichester Festival Theatre earlier this year. Please note this production is not suitable for young people under 16 years old.

"'It's self-indulgent! It's narcissistic! It's solipsistic!' cries the Charlie Kaufman character in Adaptation when he writes himself into his own screenplay. You may well exit Rupert Goold's version of Pirandello's 1921 classic with the same cry. Goold has certainly been watching too many of the real-life Kaufman's films: he even cheekily gives himself a cameo. Pirandello's 6 Characters... sees the dramatis personae from an unfinished play interrupt a theatre rehearsal and plead for their traumatic family story to be told. Here, the characters invade the troubled making of a TV docudrama about assisted suicide. The producer agrees to turn her camera on them instead, only to find herself sucked into a netherworld between real life and drama. Goold's production does sometimes succeed in bouncing stories off each other wittily and frighteningly but while the script bubbles over with ideas, they often go splat. The play also becomes dismayingly self-referential: it's too busy having theatrical meta-fun to make us feel anything much. Goold noodles around, piles on the endings and makes you itch to get out of your seat." The London Metro

"A big hit at Chichester this summer, Rupert Goold's ambitious update of Pirandello's 1921 high-modernist classic, co-adapted with Ben Power, now transfers to London. Goold's take on the original, in which a wildly dysfunctional family invade a stage rehearsal and demands that their story be told instead, turns it into a dark parable for a media-obsessed age by setting it in the blurry, amoral world of television docudrama... Goold's ceaseless inventiveness and visual flair are astonishing, as is Miriam Buether's design, but the piece is self-indulgent and overlong... It's heartlessly dazzling, sometimes mesmerising and always very clever. And demanding intellectual exercises aren't so common in the West End nowadays." The Sunday Times

"Pirandello's Six Characters In Search Of An Author [is] one of drama's most original, profound and paradoxical meditations on the relationship between theatre and reality. To work, it must dazzle as it did when it opened in 1921, which is the astonishing achievement of Rupert Goold and Ben Power's new take on the play, which challenges us to think about how we get closest to the truth - through reality or invention, fact or fiction? Their bold and brilliant idea is to reset the play in a studio where a drama-documentary is being made about the assisted suicide of a terminally ill 14-year-old, using both real footage and dramatic reconstruction... The triumph of this serious, frequently funny, always arresting production is that while remaining aware of Pirandello's overarching theories, one becomes imaginatively immersed in the unfolding dramas and relationships." The Mail on Sunday

Premiered in Rome in 1921, Luigi Pirandello's innovative and probing drama changed theatre's perception of itself and is regarded as a masterwork by a master dramatist. Now this classic play has been updated and re-contextualised in this new adaptation by Rupert Goold and Ben Power as a sinister parable for a media-obessesed age and an exhilarating exploration of how we define ourselves and what we call 'reality'.

Six Characters in Search of an Author in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 10 September 2008, opened on 15 September 2008 and closed on 8 November 2008.