I walk backstage on the final rehearsal night of “Six Characters in Search of an Author” and am immediately greeted by the chaos of actors preparing for their roles, costumes flying everywhere and crew members racing around with various props. The sound of a chicken clucking from a cage in the corner fills the room. A puppy excitedly runs up to greet me.

While I make friends with her, her owner, who happens to be an actor in the play, tells me about his part in which he does Pilates with a female actress and the chicken within a five minute span. Suddenly, six actors with chalk-white faces emerge from the dressing room. Sofi, the dog, leads me to one of them senior Noshir Dalal, with whom I chat about the play.

Dalal plays the lead male role in this modern version of the classic Pirandello play, but would much rather discuss the integral role of the backstage crew in making sure that the production is a visual success. “I am so impressed with the behind-the-scenes work and cooperation that goes on here,” he says. “The dedication of the actors is very important, but we owe a lot to the backstage workers. They really influence how well the play will turn out.”

The play tells the story of six orphaned characters on a quest to find an author to complete their tragic tale. The characters make up a dysfunctional family, whose drama slowly unravels, questioning our perception of reality.

Senior Eric Hoffman, another cast member, says that he most enjoyed exploring the gray region between reality and illusion. “We want our audience to feel like they are in the Twilight Zone,” he jokes.

Michael Barakiva, the show’s visiting director from New York City, interrupts our conversation to go over a few last minute pointers with Dalal, then calls everyone to the stage. The rehearsal is about to begin.

Or is it? I’m confused, but amused, as the actors currently onstage debate the credibility of Eminem’s homophobia, while another headbangs to “Lose Yourself in the Music,” which is blaring in the background. They busily ready the stage for the “director” of the play-within-the-play to arrive. It is this “rehearsal” that will soon be interrupted by the six characters arriving in a cloud of smoke.

As we wait, I chat with the stage manager in charge of calling the show, junior Dave Polato, who ignores the constant chattering in his headset and whispers to me about how excited he is to be working on “Six Characters.”

It’s true that there is quite a history to this play. When it first opened in the 1920s in Rome, it was deemed scandalous. Since then, the play has been a classic, attempting to discern the lines between reality and illusion and scorning plays that force the audience, cast and director to pretend to understand more than they actually do. Polato explains that Barakiva’s adaptation of the play is set at a modern day college, putting a contemporary twist on the original Italian play.

As we are speaking, the actors quickly stop fooling around as the actress playing the director arrives in a huff. Now the show has begun ? for real.

“Six Characters in Search of an Author” opens tonight at 8 p.m., November 14 and will be playing on November 15, 16, 17, 20 , 21, 22 and 23 at Todd Union Theater.



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An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.

UR Baseball beats Hamilton and RIT

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