NIU School of Theatre and Dance presents ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’

Online Staff Report

DEKALB, Ill. — Six actors examine the meaning of reality and how the characters they create onstage in turn shape who they are as people in the latest Studio Series production of the Northern Illinois University (NIU) School of Theatre and Dance (SoTD).

Beginning April 19, the NIU SoTD will present the staged production of Six Characters in Search of an Author in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre on the NIU DeKalb, Ill., campus.

The play opens on second-year master’s of fine arts in acting candidate Nick Ferrucci playing the role of the director of a rehearsal of Hamlet. When the rehearsal takes an unexpected and shocking turn, he and his student actors are left to question the nature of existence as well as the acting experience.

According to Director Patricia Skarbinski, the actors must confront the thin line between things that can and cannot be physically seen and touched.

One of the things we’re addressing is that the unseen world is as real as the seen,” Skarbinski said.

The play reveals that actors sometimes are expected to explore their own shadow side to create their characters. However, people can explore this darker part of themselves in unsafe ways, Skarbinski explained. But when they “blow off steam” in safe ways, like dancing all night, they can avoid their more dangerous energy blowing up later.

When the play debuted in 1921, the audience revolted, saying it was madness, Skarbinski said. The first audiences were shocked by the unadulterated revelation of human nature. Neither actors nor the audience want to acknowledge this darkness, but neither can they avoid it, Skarbinski said.

Skarbinski indicated that about a quarter of this version of the play is original. She and the actors spent three weeks writing this adaptation.

One day, we explored the theme of terror,” she said, explaining that they used that material to form new portions of the script. She cautioned that this play contains content that may be inappropriate for younger or more sensitive viewers.

Six Characters in Search of an Author will be performed April 19-22. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday.

All tickets are $5 and can be bought at the Stevens Building box office an hour before show time only. For more information, contact the box office at (815) 753-1600 or visit the SoTD website at

Posted April 18, 2012

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!