was amongst the Shakespeare characters who first drew breath in this
sacred space. Now we wait as black-clad actors warm up, in the
prologue to this reworked Pirandello classic.
been adapted, pared down to an hour, by Anthony Khaseria and Manuela
Ruggiero, who also directed this powerful, physical version.
scenes and most of the characters are retained, as is the central
exploration of the nature of theatre and reality. But we miss the
contrast between the Actors playing a scene and the Characters living
actor running late, a quick Muse of Fire, a powercut and the Six
Characters arrive; at first the Director [Charlotte Cox] is annoyed,
later intrigued and inspired by these lost souls, the Characters who
can never die, bringing their back stories to the stage. And as the
"real" actors return, she is not merely annoyed at a day's
rehearsal lost, but deeply moved by the tragic events the Characters
have shown so truthfully in her theatre.
we meant to be alienated by the less than fluent translation and the
broken English of some of this international company ? Some of the
most effective work here is wordless: the hats [and a script?] thrown
into the ring at the start, the moments of dumb-show on the shores of
what could be Dante's Limbo, the far side of the now famous Rose
lake. And towards the end, the characters sinking to the floor with a
sigh, and filing off at the end.
performances from Francesca de Sica as the Stepdaughter, and
especially Clive Moore as the Father, mouthpiece for the Characters,
and for Pirandello himself.
is full of endless absurdity," he says, and we may leave the
Rose feeling a little confused, disturbed even. But at least no-one
shouted "This is a mad-house!" as they did when the piece
first opened in Rome nearly a century ago.
Pirandello is poised to return to the National, it was good to see
this seminal piece revived, part of International Month at the Rose