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Introspective play wonderfully realized by Dramashop

an Author
MIT Dramashop.
Directed by Alan Brody.
Written by Luigi Pirandello.
Starring Tom Westcott '93, Andrew Kraft '95,
and Emily Prenner '93.
Kresge Little Theatre, Feb. 11 to 13, 8 p.m.

By Joshua M. Andresen
Staff Reporter

he MIT Dramashop's latest production is wonderfully done. It is a very entertaining performance of a very introspective play.

The play considers the point of drama and the point of life by questioning how real the characters on a stage are. The play starts out by depicting a play rehearsal. House lights are up and everything is made as real as possible. The actors call each other by their actual names and carry on many conversations at once, as it would be at an informal rehearsal. Even the presence of the audience is explained. The director (Tom Westcott '93) looks out at the audience and says, "What are you doing here?" The stage manager (Michelle Starz '94) replies, "You said we could bring friends." In essence, then, everyone in the entire theatre is playing a role.

At this point, the six characters emerge from a supply closet. They were created by an author who then refused to bring them to life by finishing his work. These characters are doomed to wandering the stage looking for an author to finish telling their story. They convince the director to abandon his original project and take on their story, bringing about several conflicts that examine the nature of drama.

This production is brilliantly directed. The customizations made to the script to set the play within the play at MIT are very well done. The characterizations of the acting and technical companies and their interactions seem very normal and usual, which emphasizes the dichotomy between the real company and the six characters.

The acting is good on the whole. Both Westcott and Emily Prenner '93 give stellar performances. They are fluent and very properly motivated for the characters they portray -- often a difficult thing with all the circular thinking and impossibilities written into the plot. Andrew Kraft '95 had a more difficult time with his part. He has an awkward stage presence, either leaving his arms at his sides or using them in stiff, pointed gestures. He speaks his lines wonderfully (despite an occasional stumble), but his body does not follow suit. The supporting cast, composed almost exclusively of undergraduates, is very strong as well.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable production. The initial sequence is very funny as the madcap acting troupe tries to hold a serious rehearsal. Many things go on at once, adding to the comedic content. The antics of Eddie Kohler '95 are particularly amusing. The characterizations set up at the beginning set up the comic relief that takes place all throughout the rest of the performance, striking a nice balance as Pirandello muses about his art. These musings are always thoughtful and sometimes disturbing. Always, though, they are well presented from the appearance of the six characters to the final catharsis.

Six Characters in Search of an Author closes this weekend, running Thursday through Saturday in Kresge Little Theatre.