Pirandello's One-act Plays

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Samuel French, Inc., 1970 - One-act plays - 336 pages
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DramaCharacters: 3 male, 3 female Simple Set Zelda Preston inherits her father's pecan farm located just steps from the U.S. border with Mexico and struggles to maintain it without help from undocumented workers. Ines Sandoval, a dangerously ill young mother-to-be, and her sister Angie lobby for the return of their recently deported family member Tia Rosita. Angie's husband, Carlos, defends to his community and family his choice to work for the Border Patrol. And Cooper Daniels, an industrial pecan grower and head of the civilian border surveillance group, Citizens United, forges ahead with the building of a volunteer fence. These forces collide in Ground, which examines the very human costs of our immigration issues, and the strength of personal beliefs about family, home, and civil human rights in the face of our shifting political and social landscape. Two acts."Breathtaking in every way." -- Charles Whaley, TotalTheater.com..".Tackles the hot-button issue of illegal immigration." -- David Shreward, Back Stage

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About the author (1970)

Born in Sicily, Pirandello attended the universities of Palermo, Rome, and Bonn. He obtained his doctorate in philology with a thesis on the dialect of his native town, Agrigento before settling in Rome to teach and write. In 1894, he married a Sicilian girl, Antonietta Portulano, who bore him three children before she went mad and afterwards provided the inspiration for many of his stories and plays. In all, Pirandello wrote 6 novels, some 250 short stories, and about 50 plays. It was a novel, Il fu Mattia Pascal (1904), that first brought him fame. Only in 1920, when he was past 50, did he turn seriously to playwriting. His first stage success had been a comedy, Liola (1917), written in the Agrigento dialect. It took its theme, if not its mood, from the Mandragola of Machiavelli (see Vols. 3 and 4). In 1921, Pirandello presented his most famous play Six Characters in Search of an Author. Here he seeks to confuse his spectators, who are forced into a paradox of reality and illusion when six "characters" search out the actors of a theatrical troupe to play out their inexorable story. The play exemplifies the Pirandellian conflict between art, which is unchanging and constant, and life, which is a continuous succession of mutations. Pirandello deliberately destroyed the traditional boundaries between audience and spectacle, reflecting the relativity and subjectivity of human existence. The play's unconventional format, which resulted in a riot, established Pirandello as Europe's leading avant-garde dramatist. The main body of Pirandello's plays falls into three overlapping categories, the first exploring the nature of the theater, the second the complexities of personality in the etymological or dramatic sense of the term, and the third rising to dramatic representation of the categorical imperatives of social, religious, and artistic community. Besides the world-famous Six Characters in Search of an Author (1918), his best plays in the three categories include Each in His Own Way (1924), It Is So (If You Think So) (1917), Henry IV (1922), The New Colony (1925), Lazarus, As You Desire Me (1930), and The Mountain Giants (1937), written after he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in 1934 and left incomplete. Pirandello is the forerunner of much modern theater and literature; among the figures who owe their roots to the innovations of Pirandello are Bertolt Brecht, Jean Genet, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Samuel Beckett (see Vol. 1).

For nearly 35 years, William Murray was a staff writer for The New Yorker. He lives in Del Mar, California.

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