Luigi Pirandello

Donmar Warehouse

Director: Simon Usher

Six characters appear at a play's rehearsal. They wish to have actors play the parts they represent in an uncompleted story. Their story involves lust, betrayal, incest, drowning and suicide. It is a paradoxical situation in which the actors are imitating the characters as they perform the circumstances of their lives.

In this production the play begins with the audience entering the empty Donmar Warehouse; all the fixed seating has been replaced by loose chairs. The Actors enter and sit chatting amongst the audience. The stage manger announces "Welcome to this open rehearsal of Pirandello's
Rules of the Game...". This combines with the programs and show posters printed with this title to disorient the audience.

The setting is designed to look like a typical empty rehearsal space. A new black painted brick wall, placed 1m in front of the iconographic Donmar back wall, has doors opening into the upper level director's office (which is accessed by a spiral stair) and to dressing rooms at stage level. There is also a tall scenic door in this wall which opens only at the play's finale when the characters re-enter the stage.

The clothes worn by the Actors, the Director and the Technicians are contemporary. The clothing worn by the Characters is true to the 1920s when the play was written and the period that the play-within-a-play is set; this is the time and place where the Characters truly live.


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Early costume sketches
Costume drawings
Director at her office door
Lead Actor + Actress
Father + Stepdaughter
Father tells their story
The Characters arrive
The Director enters
At the finale the remaining Characters - the Stepdaughter, the Father, the Son and the Mother - re-enter the theatre through the tall scenic door.
Six Characters in Search of an Author
Characters in the garden
The curtain falls
Madame Pace's shop
Characters leave with Director