SALISBURY, MD—The Salisbury University Theatre Department presents a classic of the European stage, Luigi Pirandello’s 1921 masterwork Six Characters in Search of an Author. Performances are in Fulton Hall’s Black Box Theatre Wednesday-Sunday, November 17-21. Curtain is 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Directed by Robert Smith of the Communications and Theatre Arts Department, the play is titled for the six fictional characters whose author did not finish their story. As the play opens, the characters interrupt an acting troupe rehearsing for a Pirandello play and implore the troupe and director to enact their own drama, thus giving them life. By reenacting their story, the characters pull the director and cast into the drama, making them the audience to a real-life tragedy. The play-within-a-play examines not only the creative process of playwriting, but also offers a philosophical look at reality versus illusion. One of Pirandello’s masterpieces—another is Henry IV—Six Characters also contains themes typical to his work, including madness, isolation and despair. Smith chose Peter Lindstrom’s translation of the play because the dialogue seemed more natural than in other, more formal translations. “The play is an icon of early 20th century theatre; its form was so new, so radical in 1921 that a riot broke out after the premier. While the ‘play within the play’ is an old form, no one before Pirandello had used it to question the very nature of theatre, of art-making, of reality,” he said. The New York Times calls it “a fascinating masterwork...a multilayered treasure” that “embodies an intriguing family drama, much sad wisdom about life and a goodly helping of insight and humor about the actor's craft.” The main cast includes: Toph Wallace as Father, Anne Crossman as Mother, Katie Keddell as Step-daughter, Matt Sheils as The Son, Shane O’Loughlin as The Boy, Pria Sharma as The Little Girl, Lindsay Porter as Madame Pace and Stephen Lynch as The Director. Set and lighting design are by Dave Shuhy, with costume design by Lisa Lantz. Karla Elliott stage manages. Sponsored by the Bobbi Biron Theatre Program, admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors Wednesday-Thursday and $12 for adults, $10 for seniors on Fridays and weekends. SU ID card holders are admitted free. For reservations call the Box Office at 410-543-6228 or for more information visit the SU web site at www.salisbury.edu.