[Quick Theatre Review] Six Characters Questioning the Premise of Theatre

Six characters

Six Characters In Search of an Author
Théâtre de la Ville
10 September 2015
Victoria Theatre
10–12 September 2015
Part of Singapore International Festival of Arts 2015

In response to naturalistic theatre, Valerii Briusov writes:

“There is no fixed boundary between the real world and the imaginary world, between ‘dreaming’ and ‘waking,’ ‘life’ and ‘fantasy.’ What we commonly consider imaginary may be the highest reality of the world, and the reality acknowledged by all may be the most frightful delirium.”

While Pirandello may not be considered a symbolist, his play is Briusov’s comments made flesh. In the midst of rehearsing “The Rules of the Game,” six characters belonging to an unfinished story appear in the rehearsal room and the director is asked to stage their tragedy. What unfolds is an overwhelming, frustrating, yet utterly intriguing piece which challenges the premises of what theatre purports to do.

Pirandello hits the sweet spot between developing the philosophical dialectic without drowning the audience as there is enough action to keep us in our seats. Despite the seeming chaos on stage, there is definitely a method to the madness as director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota manages to encapsulate it within a minimal landscape of a rehearsal room.

The audience was treated to a wonderful performance by the cast with the actors playing the actors (it’s confusing, I know) being mere walk-on players and yet having enough of a presence to justify them being in the play. The actors playing the characters

Throughout the course of our writing careers, us critics would often pronounce what is considered good theatre and what it is not. If I were asked to do so now, I would – like the character of the “The Father-” unleash a slew of pseudo-philosophical gibberish. My only recourse is to rely on my intuitions which says that this production is definitely one of them.

Other Reviews

Six Characters In Search of an Author by Ng Yi-Sheng, SIFA.sg

“The Elusive Reality of Theatre” by Tung Kai Wai, The Practice Journal

“Six Characters In Search Of An Author: A Bizarre French Madhouse Play” by Abigail Tee, Reuel Writes

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