On 24, 25 and 26th of April, the production Personages op Zoek took place at Universiteitstheater Amsterdam. The starting point for this production is the avant-garde modernist play “Six Characters in Search of an Author”(1921) by the Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello. I am particularly interested in the central philosophical gesture of the play: the paradoxical relationship between the theatricality of life and the liveness of theatre. In our weekly rehearsals, we use improvisation and play to explore this paradox as it is embodied in the plot, characters, setting and dramaturgy of Pirandello’s play-text. I am fascinated by the theatricalization of many realms of life today, a perspective that is forestalled in this important theatre play. Although this invites adaptation of the play towards the present, for instance in relation to the increase of mediation in our society, my aim has been to rehearse and stage the complete original text.
Four characters burst into a theatre rehearsal and demand that their story will be staged. The actors and director of a theatre company, who are rehearsing a new production, are interrupted by the characters and become spectators of the fascinating drama that unfolds between the four. As the characters act out their story, the spectators slowly gain insight into the character’s shared history and troubled family relations. When the theatre company decides to take the characters’ excellent performance as the framework for their new production, the fine line between reality and theatre is further lifted; revealing that both actors and characters are trapped in the attempt to stage a reality for themselves and for others.
Performers from STA – Studententoneel Amsterdam: Djoni de Vos, Ewoud Baarsma, Iris Mathilde van der Werff, Jelle Sibrijns, Julia Hakkenbroek, Laura Emous, Louisa Bergsma, Marlou Koch, Merel Talbi, Nody Hourmus | Costume: Tamar Doedens | Photographs by: Stephanie Rogoz