On 28 June 1867 “in a grove of Saracen olive trees bordering a blue clay plateau overlooking the African sea” (the countryside around Agrigento) Luigi Pirandello began his “involuntary sojourn on Earth.”
The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, quoted Luigi Pirandello’s own word to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth.
Pirandello (1867-1936) was a dramatist, novelist, poet and short story writer born in Agrigento, a stunning city that lies on the beautiful southern coast of Sicily.
He wrote over 40 plays and, in 1934, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for “his almost magical power to turn psychological analysis into good theater.” His tragic farces are often seen as precursor of the Theater of the Absurd as his work explores the boundaries between reality and illusion.
With his invention of the ‘theater within the theater,’ Luigi Pirandello became a crucial innovator of modern drama and he has been acknowledged by Sartre, Camus, Beckett, Ionesco, and Thornton Wilder, along with the more contemporary playwrights influenced by those writers. Not only did Pirandello changed theater forever through his plays, but he also instilled discipline in his actors and placed special emphasis on their work as an ensemble, a radical notion at the time.
Pirandello is best known for ‘The Late Mattia Pascal’, ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’, and the incomparable ‘One, No One and One Hundred Thousand’, which Pirandello defined as the “…bitterest of all, profoundly humoristic, about the decomposition of life”.
Indeed, his writing continues to resonate with readers because the main themes revolve around universal issues such as identity and illusion.
Ilona Catani Scarlett