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USD Theatre Presents 'Six Characters in Search of an Author'

Six Characters play photo Students rehearse for the upcoming production, "Six Characters in Search of an Author."

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre presents a contemporary adaptation of Luigi Pirandello’s "Six Characters in Search of an Author" Feb. 16-19 in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

Joe Stollenwerk, assistant professor and director, selected Robert Brustein’s 1996 adaptation of Pirandello’s play because it brought a nearly century-old Italian play into a more contemporary American setting.

"Brustein encourages theatre companies to make the text of the play more specific to their actors, production staff and audiences,” Stollenwerk said.

This production is set during the rehearsal of USD’s recent production of "Jesus Christ Superstar." As the company begins rehearsing, they are interrupted by six fictional characters from an unfinished play, looking for an author to complete their story. The experiences and moral universe of the fictional characters of the 1950s collides with the here-and-now of the USD theatre students. Stollenwerk praised the design and production team “for creating two distinct worlds, one in the present and ‘reality,’ and the other a fictional world from the past.”

"Six Characters in Search of an Author" performs Feb. 16-18 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre. Tickets can be purchased in the afternoons from 12-5 p.m. starting Feb. 9 at the USD Theatre Box Office or by calling (605) 677-5400; tickets can also be purchased on the Department of Theatre's website.


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.