Luigi Pirandello's modern classic, starring Andy Griffith in a brilliant departure from his television persona as a country sheriff, along with Academy Award winner John Houseman (The Paper Chase), is directed by Stacy Keach, who has transposed the play's traditional theatrical setting to a television studio. As a group of actors prepares for a rehearsal of a TV adaptation of another Pirandello play—The Rules of the Game—the television monitors in the control booth give way to an electrical interference that inexplicably replaces the images of the actors with the images of six mysterious strangers. These are the "six characters" of the title who appear in the flesh in the studio to confront the director and actors with the proposition that their story is more interesting than the play at hand. They gradually take over the stage to act out their story, each character representing a different point of view. A groundbreaking work which has exerted considerable influence on modern drama
In 1925 Luigi Pirandello brought his troupe to England as part of a worldwide tour. This program re-creates one day in London as “The Einstein of the Theater” watches his plays and, away from the footlights, confronts the paradoxical nature of his life. Portions of Six Characters in Search of an Author; Henry IV; Right You Are, If You Think You Are; and The Rules of the Game are meticulously staged, using actors’ accounts, period descriptions, and Pirandello’s own comments. Plus, biographical notes written by Pirandello himself provide a new angle on the inner torment that animates his work, while playwright Julian Mitchell and novelist Leonardo Sciascia critically analyze the action as it unfolds.