Sei Personaggi in Cerca d'Autore

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sei Personaggi in Cerca d'Autore is an Italian play by Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936) [1]

Best known internationally by its English title: Six Characters in Search of an Author.

The original text

An iconic metatheatrical absurdist play about the relationship between authors, their characters, and theatre practitioners, it was written in 1921 and was premiered by the Compagnia di Dario Niccodemi at the Teatro Valle in Rome in the same year. Because of confusion about the play and negative reactions to performances, Pirandello provided the play's third edition, published in 1925, with a foreword clarifying its structure and ideas.

Translations and adaptations

The play was translated into English by Edward Storer and published by E. P. Dutton, New York, in 1922. It had its American premiere in English, at the Princess Theatre on Broadway in 1922. Since then numerous English translations have been done, as well as translations into other languages.

Translated from the English into Afrikaans in 1974 by Fred le Roux as Ses Personasies op soek na 'n Skrywer.

An adaptation to South African circumstances was written and directed by Sibusiso Mamba in 2016.

Performance history in South Africa

1937: In South Africa it was produced by Rollo Gamble with the newly founded Theatre Club at the Little Theatre as the first professional production to be staged at this theatre (October). The cast were Zoë Randall, Wensley Pithey, Margot Lassner, Frank Hammerton, Fred Loehnen and Rollo Gamble.

1941: Produced by the Johannesburg Reps with André Huguenet, Leontine Sagan, Pat Hull and Margaret Inglis, under the direction of Leontine Sagan.

1959: An Arena production presented by the Prentice Group, produced by Libby Hughes at the Sea Point Town Hall, from 25-28 April 1959, with Percy Sieff as the father and Eunice Matthews.

1973: The PACT production of the play was directed by Barney Simon at the Arena Theatre in Johannesburg in September 1973, including Hamilton McLeod, David Eppel, Aletta Bezuidenhout and Michael Irwin in the cast.

1974: Directed by Gary Gordon in June, including Alice Krige, Robert Sharman, Gail Grobbelaar, John Maytham and others, presented by the Rhodes University Drama Department.

1974: Ses Personasies op soek na 'n Skrywer, the translation into Afrikaans by Fred le Roux in 1974 of Luigi Pirandello's play was presented by Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in the H.B. Thom Theatre in August and September 1974, directed by Ria Olivier, assisted by Johann van Heerden. The cast consisted of Chris Truter (Die Vader), Michelle Venter (Die Moeder), Esté Heydenrych (Die Stiefdogter), Frans Palm (Die Seun), Evert Grobbelaar (Die Seuntjie), Emily Aucamp (Die Dogtertjie) and Ria Olivier (Madame Pace). The members of the acting company were Johann van Heerden (Regisseur), Rina Nienaber (Hoofspeelster), Jakkie Groenewald (Hoofspeler), Jeannette du Plessis (2de Speelster), Sybel Coetzee (Jong Speelster), Tobie Wright (Jong Speler), Jannie Blankenberg (Ander Akteur), Emile Aucamp (Verhoogbestuurder), Susan Britz or Bridget Collie (Souffleuse), Kobus Jooste (Rekwisieteman), Kosie de Villiers (Voorman) and Jos Willems (Saalbestuurder). Décor by Emile Aucamp, costumes by Elaine Aucamp and makeup by Pieter Bredenkamp.

2016: Performed in a localized version by The Market Theatre and Windybrow Theatre as part of the DAC Incubator Programme, opening in The Laager in the Market Theatre on 1 July and playing till 24 July. Adapted and directed by Sibusiso Mamba, with Anele Situlweni, Chantal Stanfield, David Butler, Desmond Dube, Dimpho More, Gontse Ntshegang, Kate Normington, Lebogang Inno, Phumi Mncayi, Rebecca Busi Letwaba and Sandi Schultz. Lighting design by Thapelo Mokgosi, set design by Karabo Legoabe, costume design by Nthabiseng Makone, sound design by Ntuthuko Mbuyazi and stage management by Emelda Khola.


"Six Characters in Search of an Author", Wikipedia [2].

Inskip, 1972. p.122.

Press clippings from The Cape Times of 24-29 April 1959 held by NELM: Photographs [Collection: SIEFF, Percy]: 2013. 25. 2. 63.

Photographs (Rhodes 1974) held by NELM: [Collection: Rhodes University. Drama Department]: 2011. 370. 3. 16.

UTS theatre pamphlet, 1974.

UTS theatre programme, Aug/Sep 1974.

Tucker, 1997. 79.

NELM (Photograph of PACT production 1973) [Collection: SIMON, Barney]: 1995. 11. 13. 5. 11

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page