‘Six Characters’ find home on Russell Miller stage

Kae Holloway

Starting on Thursday, the main stage at Russell Miller Theatre will become the temporary home to six characters looking for their story’s end.

The WKU theatre department will open their fall season with a six day performance of “Six Characters in Search of an Author,” by Luigi Pirandello and adapted by Scott Stroot, a professor in the theatre and dance department.

The story follows six vastly different characters as they stumble through stage life, searching for an end to their stories after the deaths of their playwrights.

Julie Pride, the publicist for the department of theatre and dance, said the play’s concept is cool.

“It explores the idea of whether characters have a life of their own,” Pride said.

“We know how characters on our TV shows that we watch would act, but they have writers,” she said. “These folks, their writer is gone and they don’t know how their story ends.”

Auditions for this show, and the five other shows this season, took place during the first week of school, almost a full month before the play was scheduled to hit the stage. 

Lexington senior Susan Creech said the time from auditions and rehearsal to performance went by quickly. Creech is playing the role of the director.

“There’s not a lot known about my character,” she said. “There’s not a lot of explicit backstory, so it’s supposed to be me imitating our director, which is a little more difficult than I thought.”

Creech said her role as director resembles that of a referee, helping to settle arguments and disputes between the six lost characters.

“You’ll hear me referred to as ‘Susan’ a few times, so that’s kind of interesting because I’m not playing myself, but I’m still called Susan by some of the other characters,” she said.

Owensboro junior Elliott Talkington plays Creech’s right-hand stage man in his role as the stage manager for “Six Characters.”

“We do a lot of sitting at the table and not talking to each other,” Creech said.

Creech said their communication is mostly nonverbal.

“We do have those glances, just like those ‘can you believe this?’ type of glance,” Talkington said.

Talkington said last year, he acted as stage manager for several productions. His experience working behind the scenes, organizing actors and assisting the director added new perspective to his stage role as manager.

“It’s an interesting thing to actually play one,” he said. “For a lot of this, we’re essentially playing ourselves.”

Talkington said the show held appeal because of the interesting perspective it gives to the six lost characters. Through elements of comedy and drama, characters must find their resolve and purpose without the writer there to guide them.

“Audiences are not just going to come in and see a story unfold in a different way,” he said.

For Creech, this show marks her last opportunity to act on stage at WKU. After she graduates in December, Creech said she’ll have to adjust to a life without as many theater opportunities.

“It’s really sad just to know that I won’t necessarily be doing theater regularly after this,” she said. “I’m trying to prepare myself that if I want to be part of theater, then I’m going to have to work a little harder to make that happen.”

Creech is directing “Lily Plants a Garden” for the children’s theater program in late October. She’s hoping her experience playing a director on stage will translate to the offstage role.

“It’s ironic that I’m playing the director and I am the director (in Lily Plants a Garden),” she said.

The show opens Thursday night at 8 p.m., with shows continuing nightly at the same time through Tuesday, except for Sunday’s matinee, which starts at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at wku.showare.com at $15 for adults and $12 for students.