Saturday, 1 November 2008

Six Characters

What's reality? What exists and how can we tell the story of what exists? Can we tell a story truthfully?

That's problem is at the heart of Pirandello's play "Six Characters in search of an Author" now at the Gielgud Theatre.

The six characters have developed a life of their own, and have a story that they insist on telling. But this is a play within a play, because the six characters interrupt a rehearsal of a film documentary on assisted suicide in Denmark.

Each of the six characters wants to give his or her version of the reality that happened to them, in their life. Each has a different take on their lives together. Each constructs the same story according his/her own perception and personality.
  • The Father - guilt ridden
  • The Step-daughter - haughty, sexy
  • The Mother - distraught, weak and weepy
  • The Son - arrogant, distant
  • The silent Girl and Boy - why are they silent?
Then the actors attempt to reconstruct their story, putting a different angle to it. And here is yet another production of this play, with a different take from the one that Pirandello first produced - I think he might have liked this one.

Why am I so interested?

Because the problem of reality haunts me; it comes up in the way I approach and write up my research. Because this is a post-modern view:
  • of a world made up of people by people,
  • knowledge constructed through six characters, and reconstructed through producer and actors,
  • multiple knowledges: six characters and six knowledges,
  • knowledge contingent on time (now, in London or early twentieth century Sicily?)
  • knowledge that is not objective - who can be objective about assisted suicide
This play is so relevant to my philosophy.

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