PSA XXXI – Pirandello in New York: “Raison d’être: An Evening of Pirandello”

In the Pirandello Society of America’s recent edition of the PSA journal, Jana O’Keefe Bazzoni talks to Jennifer Jewell and Patrick Mulryan about their recent collaboration on Raison d’être: An Evening with Pirandello. Jewell (actor and producer) and Mulryan (director and adaptor) tell PSA‘s O’Keefe Bazzoni about their experimental approach to Pirandello, as their 2018 theatre piece featured new translations and a collage of three plays: Six Characters in Search of an Author, Chee-Chee and The Man with a Flower in his Mouth.

Below is John L. DiGaetani’s review of the performance. You can find the entire conversation with Jewell and Mulryan, as well as this and other reviews in the 2019 PSA journal!

Pirandello in New York: “Raison d’être: An Evening of Pirandello”

John L. DiGaetani

 Hofstra University

“Raison d’être: An Evening of Pirandello” sounded suspiciously like a mish-mash to me when I read about the production, but when I saw the performance I was very pleased. The author of the adaptation, Patrick Mulryan, followed Six Characters in Search of an Author as a main text but used two other Pirandello plays to populate the stage with characters. Chee-Chee introduced the play and The Man with the Flower in his Mouth appeared toward the end. This all sounds very weird, but the combination made for a lively evening of Pirandellian theater. After all, Max Reinhardt’s production of the play in Berlin in the ’20s had already altered the play with the addition of details from other Pirandellian plays. The characters originally featuring in Six Characters are not the liveliest, and adding other elements can increase the effectiveness of the play. Pirandello himself was even willing to approve such adaptations.

Mulryan’s adaptation succeeded in keeping the audience interested in what was occurring onstage, despite a minimalist production and uneven acting.  The lighting was evocative and the stage was large—in the basement of a church in an off-Broadway location, in a theater called Theatre 71 at Blessed Sacrament. Though Pirandello was not known for being a good Catholic, Pirandellian theater happened here all the same.

In directing the play, Mulryan kept the action moving and the audience engaged.  Among the actors impersonating the six Characters, Nora Armani was especially moving as the Mother. Even though she had few lines, she was able to keep the audience interested in her and her suffering. The actor playing the Son, David Klein, was especially effective at dramatizing the cynical reserve of this character, while David Linden’s Father maintained a reserved innocence and kept defending it, despite the facts before him. Lucie Allouche’s Step-Daughter brought a convincing mania to her unhappy character. Toward the end, Melissa Eddy Quilty’s Madame Pace generated a comic, absurdist tragedy that altered the situation. Jennifer Jewell became especially moving as the Man with the Flower, bringing a clown-like comedy to his desperate monologue.

Overall, the performance succeeded in generating the comic absurdity so characteristic of Pirandellian tragedy. One hopes that this company will pursue and stage other examples in the history of Italian theater, as well. Venice in the 18th century remains a particularly fertile ground for Italian theater, with its two great Carlos: the realistic Carlo Goldoni and the surreal Carlo Gozzi, who had such a great effect on l9th and 20th century Italian and German opera—including on Pirandello himself.

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble’s The Man With a Flower in His Mouth

New Adaptation of Pirandello’s “The Man With a Flower in His Mouth”@ Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Friday 9/12, Saturday 9/13, and Sunday 9/14.

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble (PTE) will be presenting a freely adapted version of Luigi Pirandello’s one-act play, The Man With a Flower in His Mouth for 4 performances only on Friday 9/12 @ 8:00 pm; Saturday 9/13 @ 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm and Sunday September 14 @ 3:00 pm at the Wild Project at 195 East 3rd Street (between Avenues A and B).

Originally adapted for the stage from his 1918 novella “La Morte Adosso” in 1923, Pirandello’s play takes place in a bar late at night between a man who is confronting his mortality and a man who has missed his train home. Through a several month development process PTE has freely adapted the play incorporating updated language and the introduction and explorations of meta-theatre themes associated with Pirandello.

Artistic Director Elise Stone is directing and the cast includes Mark Waterman as The Commuter and Craig Smith as The Man. Cheryl Cochran will be seen as the Wife. Recording artist Alexis Powel and Hearsay and Hyperbole’s original music will be featured in the production.

Director Stone says “Pirandello’s plays have been updated, modernized, and re-imagined many times. We are not the first to adapt a Pirandello play, nor will we be the last. This is a testament to the genius of Pirandello and the lasting legacy of his work. For the recent past few seasons, PTE has been moving toward its goal of realizing original ensemble-created works, Flower has been an exciting process and it is the first public performance of this effort.”

Tickets are $25, discount 4-admission passes are available, TDF Vouchers are welcome. To order tickets call 212-352-3101 or visit 


When:   Fri 9/12 @ 8pm, Sat 9/13 @ 3pm and 8pm, and Sun 9/14 @ 3pm


Tickets: $25 each; Call 212-352-3101 or visit

Where: The Wild Project @ 195 East 3rd Street (Avenue A and Avenue B)

Transportation:   By Subway:  F Train to 2nd Avenue; By Bus:  8th Street Crosstown to Avenue A; 14A to 4thStreet

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble:  PTE was founded in 2004 by five theatre artists who were all one time resident ensemble members of the prestigious Cocteau Repertory under the guidance of Artistic Director/auteur Eve Adamson. The intent of Phoenix was to maintain the Adamson/Cocteau principles of ensemble artists presenting classical text-based theatre, but to expand to incorporate new scripts, new adaptations, and ensemble-created works.

A constituent of Network of Ensemble Theatres and ART/NY, Phoenix has since mounted 41 productions, 46 staged and developmental readings, 2 international theatre festivals, 2 late night series, numerous open rehearsal seminars, provided an artistic home to 80-100 artists each season, created intergenerational programs for at risk teens and seniors (the subject of an award winning documentary), 8 years of curriculum based Arts-in-Ed programs serving thousands of NYC public students.

PTE has experienced significant growth in the last two seasons with the 2013-14 season providing increased programming resulting in 50% growth in pass holders/subscribers, and over 70% increase in box office revenue over the previous year. The 2013-14 unusual staging of  Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell is nominated  for 5 NYIT awards.

2014-2015 season will include new web-based initiatives, 4 mainstage productions (The Man With a Flower in His Mouth by Pirandello, The Creditors by Strindberg, Medea by Euripides and American Moor by Keith Hamilton Cobb), Late Night Series, interactive children’s programming, reading series, Anatomy of Scene seminars, and  the 3rd Annual First Stories Festival.

The 2015-16 season will include Robert Patrick’s Judas and the 2016-17 season will mark the 60th Anniversary of Brecht’s death with a remounting of the Eric Bentley/Darius Mihaud’s adaptation of Mother Courage and Her Children.

Pirandello Play Production Competition

The Pirandello Society is pleased to announce two grants of $375 in support of productions of plays by Pirandello to be presented in 2015. One grant will be awarded a production in NYC. Another grant will be awarded to a production anywhere in the US.

To be considered, please email the following information to no later than December 1, 2014:

Name of theatre company, group, or university

Name of venue

Name of director

Projected production dates

Availability of photos and review

Both review and production photos may be considered for publication in the 2016 issue of PSA, the annual journal of the Pirandello Society.

The Giants of the Mountain by Luigi Pirandello – Reading at Theaterlab

On October 15, 2013 the Pirandello Society of America sponsored a reading of Pirandello’s The Giants of the Mountain, a “myth” between fable and reality that Pirandello continued to imagine, write, and rework from 1929 to 1934, but eventually left unfinished despite encouraging contracts with American impresarios. Yet, in its present form, the play vibrates with the powerful contradictions of sublime Art torn between the inner necessity to reach out to spectators who may not understand it and the temptation to abandon the world altogether. It was, in the playwright’s opinion, the culmination of his artistic endeavors.

The reading was directed by Stebos (Stefano Boselli) in collaboration with Theatreplots (see link for pictures of the event).
Within the series “NOT Made in Italy – Displacement as Creativity” at Theaterlab, it was part of the celebrations for the Year of Italian Culture in the United States.

For the evening’s program in pdf, click here.


S16 – Luna Nera (based on Pirandello’s Ciaula Discovers the Moon)

S16 – Luna Nera

Written and directed by Gian Marco Lo Forte

November 15 – December 2, 2012 at La MaMa Galleria, 6 East 1st Street

S 16 – LUNA NERA is a live installation created by Pioneers Go East Collective that integrates music, art, video and performance in an ensemble based process.

Inspired by and loosely based on Luigi Pirandello’s poetic short story “Ciaula scopre la luna” (“Crow Discovers the Moon), the production centers on Ciaula, a young Sicilian miner whose entire youth has been spent underground in the sulfur mines until one night when he discovers the regal presence of the moon shining in full splendor in the sky. Prior to that moment, Ciaula’s life had been so regulated by the darkness of the mines and the cruelty of his employers that he preferred the dark and dampness of the mines to the open air of the night above ground.  Ciaula’s sudden awareness of the moon’s luminous beauty elicits a transformative, magical moment for the young man, one in which his heart swells with new hope.

The action takes place in a sculpted set comprised of two darkened chambers that suggest the isolation and claustrophobic life experienced by Ciaula and his fellow miners. The performance inside one—a tunnel—is projected onto screens, while the performance in the other chamber unfolds behind a scrim.

The production’s four actors perform in silence, while the live vocalists, one who represents the moon and sings traditional Sicilian folk songs, and the other, who sings in English, narrate Ciaula’s journey from darkness to light. An electronic score is used to mirror and amplify the harsh environment of the mines, while the sweet beauty of the Sicilian singer’s acoustic guitar suggests the human and communal spirit that exists among the miners.

Gian Marco Lo Forte – Concept & Direction, Libretto (in Sicilian dialect and English)
Maura Nguyen Donohue – Choreographer
Adam Cuthbert – Sound Designer/Composer
Katherine Yew – Cantastorie: Singer & ‘Sicilian Passages’ Music Composer
Abby Felder – Costumes & Makeup Design
Jiyoun Chang – Lighting Design
Mark Tambella – Paintings & Projected Drawings
Daniel Nelson (design consultant)
Rocco D’Santi (projection design)

Pioneers Go East Collective – P.G.E.C. is dedicated to bringing together international theatre and visual artists to create works that use an ensemble-based process and incorporate poetry, music, design and live video to evolve a universal language of performance and visual installation that pushes the boundaries of theatre. P.G.E.C. develops projects that focus on experimentation in form and content and technology to attract and energize a new audience

WSC Avant Bard’s Six Characters in Search of an Author

WSC Avant Bard presents

Six Characters in Search of an Author

by Luigi Pirandello

translated by Carl R. Mueller

Directed by Tom Prewitt

Pull back the curtain to explore the worlds and characters created by words in Six Characters in Search of an Author.  Set during a rehearsal for Luigi Pirandello’s The Rules of the Game, the play finds actors and a director interrupted by orphan characters, seeking to have their story told.  As the actors, director, and characters struggle with reality and theatrical convention, we must ask ourselves, “Is all the world a stage?”

  • Previews: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 through Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012
  • Opening: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012
  • Regular Run Begins: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012
  • Close: Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012

There will be no performances Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012 and Friday, Nov. 23, 2012.

WSC Avant Bard is the theater company in residence at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia.

For more information, tickets and group rates, please check the company’s website

David Gordon’s dance pieces based on Pirandello’s writings, plays, and themes

A Pick Up Performance Co(s) Production
2012 marks fifty years of David Gordon making work. Mr. Gordon hijacks Joyce SoHo’s theater for a world premiere of an unprecedented extended run to kick off this momentous post-modern anniversary.
Beginning of the End of the Beginning of
New comic dramatic emotionally loaded theater movement narrative written/choreographed & directed by David Gordon
generated from Luigi Pirandello’s writings & familiar themes incl:
absurd inconsistencies of what we see
& how we see & questions of identity
w/8 actors & dancers & 2 puppets playing 16 roles
in 2 acts w/no intermission.
the Beginning of the End of the Beginning
New comic dramatic emotionally loaded theater movement narrative based on Luigi Pirandello’s 1911 story A CHARACTER’S TRAGEDY
& his 1923 1 act play THE MAN WITH THE FLOWER IN HIS MOUTH
w/8 actors & dancers & 2 puppets playing 16 roles
in 2 acts w/no intermission.
of the Beginning of the End of the
New comic dramatic emotionally loaded theater movement narrative
w/behavioral movement & gesture & physical shadowing/partnering
& w/incidental music (possibly by Pirandello peer Giacomo Puccini)
& w/stg flats, chairs, door frames & script pgs
& rolling/”dancing” scenic devices
& light designed by Jennifer Tipton
on 4 separate but adjoining “stages”
w/8 actors & dancers & 2 puppets playing 16 roles
in 2 acts w/no intermission.


performance schedule
Previews: Jun 1-3 & 5
Fri & Sat at 7:30pm;
Sun at 2pm;
Tue at 7:30pmPerformances: Jun 6-30
Wed-Sat at 7:30pm;
Sun at 2pm
ticket price
Previews: $15;
Performances: $22
For more details and tickets, see the Joyce Theater website:

The Pirandello Festival – All One-Act Plays at The Players in New York City

A Night of Deadly Serious Comedies – Ionesco’s The Future Is in Eggs & Pirandello’s Sicilian Limes

Joseph Hendel, Lauren Rayner Productions, andADEV Inc. present



two forgotten modernist plays that are incredibly relevant in an age of economic scarcity, political pessimism, and cultural disaffection.

Through strong improvisational-based acting and a cutting-edge use of technology, this production unites the stylistically disparate one-acts into a coherent expression of hopeful defiance, one that entertains while simultaneously challenging the audience’s perceptions about  love, money, and personal fulfillment.

Ionesco’s The Future is in Eggs is a daring and hysterical example of The Theater of the Absurd. After entering into an arranged marriage, it is time for Jacques and Roberta to produce some offspring. With their family members eagerly looking on they begin to “hatch” their eggs. In Pirandello’s Sicilian Limes a dark, expressionistic farce, small‐town musician Micuccio comes to the big city to marry the poor country girl he helped turn into a famous opera star. In contrast to the Ionesco play, which is played  more traditionally to the audience, the Pirandello play offers so many possible interpretations that it will be presented using never‐before‐used interactive audio technology, affording the audience access to multiple perspectives and engaging them in the theater‐making process.

Directed by Joseph Hendel

Produced by Lauren Rayner Productions

The company includes Adam Hocherman, Bradley Sumner, Brendan Sokler, Frankie Johnson, Grace Folsom, Joel Malazita, Lisa Hickman, Meaghan Sloane, and Skylar Saltz.

The creative team includes sound by Nick Engel, sets by Charlie Gaidica and lights by Evan Gannon.

June 17th thru June 26th 2011

The Shell Theatre

300  West 43rd Street, 4th Floor

New York, NY 10036

Slideshow: click here