Six Characters in Search of an Author
Whether lauded as sociological studies or chastised as voyeuristic exploitation, pioneering efforts in reality television were generally considered nonfiction. But a funny thing happened on the road to authenticity: The purveyors of reality television — both behind the scenes and in front of the camera — became self-aware. Aspiring to create tension-rich storylines and memorable "characters," the genre morphed into a simplified facsimile of the real world, trading life's ambiguities for sensationalized clichés. Within this context, the new production of the absurdist work Six Characters in Search of an Author, co-produced by Gremlin Theatre and Alan Berks & Company, couldn't be more relevant. Written in 1921 by Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello, the work was revelatory in the assertion that fictional characters must mirror our own self-centric conception of existence. Decades of pop culture have only reinforced Pirandello's central theme, as an endless parade of celebrity figures have made a career out of portraying their public persona. This latest adaptation takes place within The Maze, a reality-television program whose subjects are startled by the inexplicable appearance of a peculiar family who insists on living out their own artificiality. Headlined by an ensemble cast, this work-within-a-work asserts the notion that we are nothing if not actors striving to make sense of our storylines. $20; Monday's performance is pay-what-you-can. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 4 p.m. Sundays; plus 8 p.m. Monday, March 11. 2400 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.228.7008. Through March 24
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m.; Mon., March 11, 8 p.m. Starts: March 1. Continues through March 24, 2013
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