Six Characters in Search of an Author Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

The following questions are designed to help you guide your students through a structured discussion about the themes, content, and structure of Luigi Pirandello's play 'Six Characters in Search of an Author'.

Six Characters in Search of an Author

Six Characters in Search of an Author is a 1921 absurdist play by Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello. The story follows a theatre company that is interrupted by the arrival of six characters from an unfinished drama, with the remainder of the play blurring the line between fiction and reality and drawing attention to the nature of theatrical dramas. These questions, intended for high schoolers, can help your students work through this play, its plot, and its meaning.

Questions about Plot and Characters

  • In one sentence, how would you describe Six Characters in Search of an Author? What is this play about?
  • What is happening at the start of the first act? Who are the people on stage? Who joins them? What is the difference between the Actors/Company and the Characters? How do they initially interact? What does each group represent to the other?
  • What story do the Characters begin to tell? What are their dynamics? How do they refer to themselves, and each other? How do the Director and Company respond?
  • How do the Characters feel about the Director and Company as the play progresses? What do they like about the play as it is being staged? What are their complaints? How do they think these issues should be addressed?
  • In your opinion, at what point does the line between the plot of the Characters' drama and their plot as real people start to blur? When do they cross from telling the story the original author wrote, to living out their own ideas? Do they have agency, or is it all scripted for them?
  • What would you consider to be the climax of this play? Why do you think that? What conflicts does this bring to a breaking point? How are they resolved?
  • How does this play end? What has happened to the Characters and Company? How does the Director respond? Why does he respond this way? How did you interpret this?

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