full title Six Characters in Search of an Author (Sei Personaggi in Cerca D'autore)
author Luigi Pirandello
type of work Drama
time and place written Rome, 1920
date of first publication 1922; first production in Rome, 1921
point of view Not applicable
tense The play unfolds in the time of the present
setting (time) Daytime
setting (place) The stage of a theater
protagonists The Father, the Step-Daughter
major conflict Six Characters interrupt the daytime rehearsal of Pirandello's play. Abandoned by their author, they seek a new one to put on their drama. To the Actors chagrin, they convince the theater company's Manager and attempt to stage their unwritten play.
rising action The play does not adhere to a conventional model of rising action, climax, and falling action, but the rising action is possibly the harried, messy, and frantic rehearsal of the Characters' drama.
climax Pirandello offers the two ostensible climaxes of the Characters' drama in botched form: the sexual encounter between the Father and Step-Daughter in the back room of Madame Pace's shop at the end of Act II and the death of the Child and Boy at the end of Act III.
falling action In the former case, the Manager moves to the footlights to appraise the spectacle, oblivious to its pathos; in the second, a confused melée ensues, and the Manager renounces the experiment in frustration.
themes The theater of the theater; the Character's reality; the Eternal Moment
motifs The mirror; the author-function; the act divisions
symbols The Characters themselves, the Step-Daughter's vein, the trappings of Madame Pace's shop, the egg-shells, the Father's sack
foreshadowing In selling their drama to the Manager, the Father and Step-Daughter give away its plot from the outset. Otherwise, most of the play remains unpredictable, subject to what the Father calls the "Demon of Experiment."