Six Characters in Search of An Author
Luigi Pirandello, adaptation by Manuela Ruggiero and Anthony Khaseria
The Rose Theatre, Bankside
Six Characters in Search of An Author is a piece that does not seem to age. The whole concept is still as challenging and thought provoking as it was in 1921. When six abandoned characters interrupt a rehearsal for another production, the very nature of reality is called into question.
In this new adaptation by Manuela Ruggiero and Anthony Khaseria, the emphasis is placed upon the relationship between the characters and the director. This works extremely well in the tight stage area that The Rose offers with the director (Charlotte Cox) sitting on the front row with the real audience.
As the location is a rehearsal room, there is no set and the characters themselves are dressed in black with only a hat defining their role. This pared down approach puts emphasis firmly on the verbal sparring of the piece and leaves the playing area almost entirely free for the considered choreography.
There are some very strong performances from this versatile cast and the interaction between The Stepdaughter (Francesca De Sica) and The Father (Clive Moore) is particularly emotive.
The pace however is uneven and although visually beautiful, the dance sequences taking place beyond The Rose ‘lake’ do not quite connect with the main stage action.
This production promises much and in many ways does deliver however some parts feel fragmented and the emotional journey of the director does not quite ring true.
Staging this production at The Rose, however, adds a whole new dimension to the metatheatricality of the piece and even with an adapted script Pirandello’s philosophical points remain as intriguing as ever.
Reviewer: Amy Yorston