Apr 152009
Authors: Ashley Lauwereins

After months of preparation from student actors and technicians, “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Luigi Pirandello opens tonight in the University Theatre at the University Center for the Arts. It is the Theatre Department’s final production of the semester.

This play sets six characters at a play rehearsal, where they find out that the author of the story they’re participating in has not finished the story. This leaves the characters stuck reliving a series of everyday events and hoping to escape this fate though the actors on the stage, said Janay Littlejohn, a senior business administration major and actor.

“This play is different than most plays that we’ve seen in the Fort Collins area,” Littlejohn said. “Pirandello was very interested in the involvement of the audience in play work, and this play blurs the line of illusion and reality.”

Seth Walter, a senior political science major and stage manager, said this show makes the audience reevaluate the line between fiction and reality.

“This play really makes you question where a story comes from and how the story is real to someone,” Walter said. “We explore the idea of what people are seeing. If we do our job well, the audience will go out of the show thinking about what they just saw.”

“The play really challenges the audience to think of characters not just as text but as living breathing things that continue their lives after the person finishes interacting with them in that medium,” said Brad Herman, a senior political science major.

Herman plays the father in the play, a character he describes as one of the most developed and the voice of Pirandello for what he thought of theater and the philosophies of theater.

Associate professor in the Theatre Department Laura Jones is the director of the play, and she said that she chose the production because it is one of the most influential plays of the 20th Century.

“It is surprising that this play was chosen because it is very seldom staged, although the ideas it present are often explored,” Jones said. “Pirandello was the first to tackle the whole notion of time. Theater is one of the only mediums where audiences can see a story acted out in real time with the audience.”

Jones also said that the play allows students to learn different acting styles that audiences are used to seeing.

“In the play you have different characters from a different place and time with a different acting style. But by the end, their acting style seems more realistic than what was originally perceived as realistic.”

“I think the ideas bubble up after the fact,” Jones said about the play as a whole. “It leaves the audience with questions. The answers they will have to come up with on their own.”

Performances will be Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from April 16th through the 25th at 8 p.m., along with a matinee performance Sunday, April 26, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for students and can be bought at the ticket office.

Staff writer Ashley Lauwereins can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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