Directed by Benjamin Thorn
April/May 1999 - Armidale Playhouse
By Luigi Pirandello. Translated from the Italian by Benjamin Thorn.
The Throne Room
I see Pirandello's Henry IV as a key play of and about the twentieth century. Written just after World War I, when all certainties were abolished, it looks at the big issues of the nature of reality, sanity and love. Henry copes with a mad world by being mad. Unlike many Pirandello plays, which have dated badly by being too wedded to their time of writing, Henry IV has a timeless quality and is continually relevant to our modem world.
Superficially it is less radical than the trilogy of the theatre (Six characters in search of an author, Each in his own way, and Tonight we improvise), but it shares many of the concerns about the nature of reality and performance of those plays. However its normality is deceptive since many of Henry's speeches about the nature of madness breach the fourth wall and are direct addresses to the audience. And it is in these speeches that Pirandello manages-to focus in on the essentials of twentieth century angst without being tied to any particular event. World War I and the rise of fascism, which was the context in which he was writing raise the same issues as Iraq and Kosovo today. As Tito Belcredi puts it "The conclusion is that we are the mad ones."
Director: Benjamin Thorn
Stage One School of Drama, UNE Department of Theatre Studies
© The Armidale Playhouse Inc, 2007-2014