Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author by Aquila Theatre

Aquila Theatre, Company in Residence at NYU’s Center for Ancient Studies, Presents

Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author

Wednesday–Thursday April 20–21, 2011 at 8pm

Aquila Theatre’s exciting new production of Nobel Laureate Luigi Pirandello’s drama Six Characters in Search of an Author, dares to ask audiences to consider fundamental questions about the very nature of art and entertainment, blurring the lines between reality and artifice. Just as the original London audience at Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest rioted, the crowds in Rome erupted in cries of “Manicomio!” (Madhouse!) during the first performance. Yet ‘Six Characters’ went on to be considered a groundbreaking work and one of the most important plays of the twentieth century. The London Daily Telegraph described the work as “combining intellect with raw emotion and remaining highly influential”.

The production, directed by Desiree Sanchez, is performed in mask and based on Peter Meineck’s research on how the tragic mask operated in performance from the perspective of the spectator and in relationship to the surrounding environment.  It also brings to life Pirandello’s original suggestion that the play be performed in mask.



NYU Skirball Center

566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square

New York, NY 10012


Tickets: http://www.skirballcenter.nyu.edu/page/tickets

Slideshow in hi-resolution: click here

“Her Maestro’s Echo” – The Actress Who Conquered Broadway in an Evening

Professor Pietro Frassica presents:
The Actress Who Conquered Broadway in an Evening

with a letter dialogue between
Adapted by Mimi Gisolfi D’Aponte
Read by Meghan Duffy and Ric Randig
19 November 2010
24 West 12th St, New York City

You are invited!

For pics of the event click here (© Jane House 2010)

Print flyer by clicking here

For a review of the event on i-Italy, click here.

Print article
“Marta Abba, Luigi Pirandello, and the Cleveland Connection” by Alfonso D’Emilia (PSA XVIII pp. 81-85)
by clicking here.

Pirandello reads to Marta Abba

MLA Modern Language Association Panels – San Francisco, California 2008 – Pirandellian Moods

MLA 2008  San Francisco, California.   Pirandellian Moods

Saturday, 27 December

63. Pirandellian Moods: Interpretations and Transformations

5:15–6:30 p.m., San Francisco Marriott

Program arranged by the Pirandello Society of America

Presiding: Maria Rosaria Vitti-Alexander, Nazareth Coll. of Rochester

1. “Pirandello’s ‘On Humor’ and Italian Film Comedy,” Daniela Bini, Univ. of Texas, Austin

2. “A Contemporary Reshaping of the Self: ‘La Balia,’” Lisa Sarti, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

3. “Luigi Pirandello: Black Swans and Mirrors,” Gregory Kershner, Hofstra Univ.

Sunday, 28 December

343. Pirandellian Moods: Mechanized and Mediated

3:30–4:45 p.m., San Francisco Marriott

Program arranged by the Pirandello Society of America

Presiding: Susan Tenneriello, Baruch Coll., City Univ. of New York

1. “Serafino Gubbio’s Sick Eye,” Davide Bolognesi, Columbia Univ.

2. “Long Live the Machine That Mechanizes Life!” Mihaela Martinescu, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

3. “Pirandellian Spectors in Contemporary Practice: Interactive Media and Performance,” Susan Tenneriello

Respondent: Jana O’Keefe Bazzoni, Baruch Coll., City Univ. of New York

2008 Abstracts

Pirandellian Moods: Narrative, Film, Theatre into the Twenty-first Century

Panel 1 Pirandellian Moods: Interpretations and Transformations

Daniela Bini: Pirandello’s Umorismo in Italian Film Comedy-Abstract

This presentation examines Pirandello famous essay L’umorismo of 1908 and his philosophical
definition of umorismo and tries to see its influence on Italian film comedy-a genre that
became popular in Italy in the Fifties and Sixties, and that can undoubtedly be considered
the most genuine expression of Italian cinema. A few example will be chosen to support such
influence: Federico Fellini’s I vitelloni of 1953, Mario Monicelli’s Amici miei of 1975,
Ettore Scola’s Concorrenza sleale (2001)-three examples of the last fifty years of film making
to show that Pirandello’s “sentimento del contrario” plays still a large role in the humor
of Italian filmmakers and in that of the Italians in general.

Lisa Sarti: A Contemporary Reshaping of the Self: La Balia.

In 1999 the Italian director Marco Bellocchio devised his cinematic adaptation of the short-story La Balia, that Pirandello published in 1903. The film plot is loosely inspired by its literary prototype, as the director injects contemporary issues in the story. The two texts share the same starting point, as their protagonists leave their native village and encounter city life and modernity. Their contact with a bourgeois environment leads them along two diverging paths and, ultimately, to different epilogues. A collapse of morality and a loss of family ties will turn the Pirandellian nanny’s existence into the passive acceptance of a gloomy destiny, from which she cannot escape. Re-reading the literary text from a different temporal perspective, Bellocchio portrays a more assertive protagonist on the screen. Though naive and poor, Annetta strives to re-shape her personal life in order to have a better future. In the two authors the transition between social codes calls attention to pivotal cultural transactions. In the short story the nanny’s behavior is punished by oppressive conventions, while in the film the discourse about sexuality is not subjected to social censorship. What Pirandello conceived as the realistic depiction of a peasant woman’s self-sacrifice and sexual subjugation becomes a tale of female self-development and awareness in Bellocchio’s interpretation.

In my paper I intend to analyze the strategies through which Bellocchio refashions Pirandello’s moods, delivering an anti-conventional message of redemption, which testifies to the director’s social and political committment.

Gregory Kershner Luigi Pirandello: Black Swans and Mirrors

This paper will present an examination of the notions of mirrors, fetish, and fractured narrative in Pirandello’s plays Six Characters in Search of an Author and Henry IV.  . . .What both plays question most clearly is, I believe, a notion of fractured identity through their use of meta-fictional strategies to foreground the nature of the chaos of the narrative subject.  Well known as a radically self- referential or meta-theatrical work, Six Characters is also an instrumental study in what Pirandello termed il teatro dello specchio or “the mirror theater,” a play that turns a mirror onto the theater itself.  On the other hand, Henry IV is a play concerned with the concept of a mask on a face. A good deal can be achieved in an analysis of the psychological attitude and in regard an awareness of the orders of difficulty which are involved in formulation of the mask and insanity.

.The main goal of this paper is to show that neither of Pirandello’s plays operates in a Gramcian manner of dialectical materialism, despite numerous studies proclaiming to see at least Six Characters in such a light. Rather, Six Characters and Henry IV serve as models of writing within a tradition of repressive compensation (mirrors, fetish, and narrative fallacies) that works toward the possibility of systemic critique in a way in which dialectics never can; an approach inspired by what Benjamin refers to as ‘dialectics in deadlock.’

The works of Freud, Lacan, and most recently Nassim Taleb point out the metonymic and compensatory relationship that narrative, mirror, and the fetish have to identity formation. These key critical concepts open up the possibilities for identity disruption and its reconstitution as further displaced identities. My project applies their theories of disruption to Six Characters and Henry IV, for if the tropes of metaphor on which the formation of subjectivity depend are broken down, then new and uncontainable possibilities for the re-visioning of fractured identity and further self-deceptions are made possible. The de-contained identity occasioned by fetishes, mirrors, and fallacies, makes possible the proliferation of multiple, often incompatible, narratives of the subject in Pirandello’s dramatic works.

Panel 2 Pirandellian Moods: Mechanized and Mediated

Davide Bolognesi Serafino Gubbio’s Sick Eye

The camera, the macchinetta infernale that Serafino Gubbio uses on the cinematographic set of the Kosmograph, metaphorically takes on the function of a telescope. Like the famous astronomer Copernico (“one of the greatest humorists” according to Pirandello in L’umorismo), who directed the telescope toward the immensity of the cosmos, thus reducing the Earth to a pointless crumb of ridiculous proportion, Serafino Gubbio pointed the camera to the sets of the Kosmograph (indeed a poignant choice in name). Through the mechanical diaphragm of the camera, Serafino shreds human identity to pieces (to the point of making all the actors hate him), and through his optical device depicts a world in which the blurred border between life and fiction is continually violated. This process, starting with the interno dal vero at the beginning of the novel, reaches its culmination in the final take with the tiger, where the artistic-aesthetical drama of the hunting scene, suddenly but not unexpectedly, turns into a real existential tragedy. At this point the play script and real life become totally entangled in one unsolvable knot. The camera, as a modern Copernico’s telescope, far from just being a passive device, modifies its object as well as the observer. Thus through the destructive eye of Serafino Gubbio, the reader witnesses the ultimate victory of the forma over the vita, as Pirandello theorizes in L’umorismo.

Mihaela Martinescu Long Live the Machine that Mechanizes Life!

In Quaderni di Serafino Gubbio operatore, translated into English, as Shoot, Serafino Gubbio observes people from behind the filter, or mask, of the camera.  What happens to the film actor is similar to the metamorphosis that takes place within the pirandellian man, who ceases to exist as he becomes a character interpreting certain parts, in order to fit the roles into which others, along with society, have ‘fixed’ him.  The actor, when taken off the stage and placed behind the lens of the camera, becomes only an image, an illusion of a reality from which he has been banished, in order to transform his art into a commodity.  In place of the theatrical representation, we have a fragmented and deformed image, “a game of mechanical illusion,” as Pirandello calls it.  The crisis of the protagonist comes from the ‘horror’ in realizing that, along with so many other hands emptied of the soul that would only impede their impassive work, he is just a hand that turns the handle of a machine that kills art as it devours the human soul.  One cannot help but sense the prophetic effect with which Pirandello’s ‘rage against the machine’ anticipates the postmodern age of the mass media and computers, in which images and messages transmitted via screens present everywhere, have invaded us like monsters.  We have all become mere spectators, taking in and then translating the illusions with which we are bombarded on a daily basis into reality the reallity that provides our sustenance.

Susan Tenneriello Pirandellian Spectors in Contemporary Practice: Interactive Media and Performance

Coming soon…

50th Anniversary Celebration of the Pirandello Society of America and its Founder, Marta Abba

Readings of letters and Pirandello’s one act “The Other Son”
Post-performance panel discussion with, among others:
Pietro Frassica, Princeton University
Jane House, Artistic Director, Jane House Productions
Benito Ortolani, emeritus, City University of New York
Janice Capuana, dramaturg and doctoral student in theatre

The evening is cosponsored by

the Center for the Study of Women and Society,

The Graduate Center,

The City University of New York

and Jane House Productions

May 13, 2009

Elebash Recital Hall
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street)

New York, NY
6PM: admission is free; open to the public

Pirandello and His Influence

February, 2009

Pirandello and His Influence on Playwrights All Over the World

The Doctor’s Duty (Il dovere del medico) by Luigi Pirandello – Director, Valentina Fratti

Bait by Mario Fratti –  with Lupita Ferrer and Julia Paulson, Director, William Paulson

February 25, 2009

Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò

24 West 12th St.

New York, New York 10010

6PM: admission is free; open to the  public

John Welle – The Set with the Diva: Pirandello and the Film Novel

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

6:30 p.m. Room C 201

The Doctoral Specialization in Italian and the Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature Graduate Center

City University of New York

365 Fifth Avenue

Lecture by John Welle


This lecture compares Luigi Pirandello’s novel on the alienation of a film cameraman, Si gira! (1915) with other contemporary Italian novels set in the world of early cinema. Read together, these “popular” or “mid-cult” film novels, Ettore Veo’s Fantasio Film (1917-18), and Enrico Roma’s La repubblica del silenzio (1918) shed light on Pirandello’s more philosophical narrative and on the cultural reception of cinema in Italy during the critical years surrounding WWI.

John Welle is professor of modern Italian literature, history of Italian cinema, and translation studies. He is the author of The Poetry of Andrea Zanzotto (1987) and the editor and translator (with Ruth Feldman) of Peasants Wake for Fellini’s Casanova and Other Poems by Andrea Zanzotto (1997).

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

6:00 p.m.

Italian Cultural Institute

686 Park Avenue New York, NY

Dacia Maraini in conversation with Jane House and Ingrid Rossellini

about Maraini’s new book Colomba

RSVP 212 879 4242, x 368

Eduardo DeFilippo’s Souls of Naples (Questi fantasmi) – Performance

Questi fantasmi

Production, starring John Turturro, directed by Roman Paska, produced by

Theatre for a New Audience, April 2-May 8, 2005, Duke Theatre

Souls of Naples April 2 – May 8, 2005

The sensational John Turturro stars as Pasquale Lojacono, in the American Premiere of a new translation of Souls of Naples, a modern, 1940’s classic by Eduardo De Filippo. The play is a bitter sweet comedy about marriage and De Filippo’s deep look into the souls of people in post World War II Naples. It features elements of puppetry, mask, and the absurd, all part of the bold vision of director Roman PaskaMichael Feingold translates Souls of Naples from the Italian original Questi Fantasmi!

Student group rate tickets for full-time students – $20 a ticket-67% off regular ticket prices.

Eduardo DeFilippo’s Souls of Naples (Questi fantasmi) – Panel Discussion

Eduardo DeFilippo’s Souls of Naples (Questi fantasmi)

Panel Discussion, moderated by Mimi D’Aponte, featuring actor John Turturro & translator Michael Feingold

March 17, 2005, 6:30 p.m.

Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Avenue New York, NY

RSVP 212 879 4242, Ext 370

Symposia: On April 30 and May 7

Mimi D’Aponte, Professor Emerita of Theatre at Baruch College and CUNY Graduate Center, will moderate a symposium about Souls of Naples.  These conversations will include John Turturro and Roman Paska.   The symposia are free of charge.

If you have any questions regarding the production or would like to arrange tickets, please phone (212) 229-2819 ext. 15 or email selkashef@tfana.org