English translation of Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore, a 1921 play by Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello. It is about six characters who show up at a theater rehearsal at which they are not supposed to be and insist on performing their play; however, all of them know their roles, but they don't have any lines, nor does it appear that any have been written for them. A director and a few crew members try to sort things out, but the situation just gets nasty and very despairing. The theme of the play is that our perception of reality and purpose in life is vastly different than what it may actually be, and certainly different than what other people think it is; and possibly that there is not discernable purpose in life.
Six Characters is perhaps the most influential work of early 20th-century existentialist and absurdist theater. Its mark, and the mark of other Pirandello plays, is visible on scores of other works like No Exit, Waiting for Godot, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.