Six Characters in Search of an Author

Six Characters in Search of an Author, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday, $10-$15. City Theatre at the Art Court Theatre, Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard. (916) 558-2228, Through October 16.

It begins like an episode of The Twilight Zone: An ordinary play rehearsal is interrupted by the appearance of mysterious interlopers—six characters born for the stage but never given a play to perform. Thus does Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello begin his nearly century-old metatheatrical masterpiece that speaks to the power of imagination and the reality vs. unreality of theater.

Audiences see characters take life on stage, but what if such characters truly live? And what about those characters created by a playwright but abandoned without a story? Do they have a life, too?

Yes, says the father (Mark Cornfield) of the family of stage crashers who demand that the mystified rehearsal director (Adrienne Sher, who also adapted the script) write a story for them—give them the life they’ve been denied.

This is a thought-provoking, challenging drama, and the large cast (a mix of community actors and student performers) creates a natural environment of theatrical egos, impatience and inquisitiveness. Peter Mohrmann directs with sure control and perfect timing, embracing the absurdist play’s imagination and satire.