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Pirandello 150: A Tribute to the Italian Dramatist and Writer

Joelle Grosso (January 10, 2017)
From January 13th to January 19th, Film Forum on Houston Street in New York will be honoring one of the greatest Italian authors of all time in association with Helluva Theater Company’s city-wide tribute entitled “Pirandello 150.”

150 years have passed since the legendary writer, Luigi Pirandello, was born in 1867 in Agrigento, a stunning city that lies on the beautiful southern coast of Sicily. A multifaceted artist who wrote plays, short stories, poetry, and novels, Pirandello was best known for the works The Late Mattia Pascal and Six Characters in Search of an Author. In 1934, he even won the Nobel Prize in Literature. His writing resonated, and continues to resonate, with readers because the main themes revolve around universal issues such as identity and illusion. Not only did Pirandello put out prolific amounts of work during his lifetime but he had an astonishing influence on the world of drama even after his death.

American theater critic Robert Brustein refers to Pirandello as “the most seminal dramatist of our time” saying that his work anticipated the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett and Eugene O’Neill. This is why Helluva Theater and Film Forum thought the 150th anniversary of Pirandello’s birth would be the perfect opportunity to commemorate his finest contributions to the world. 

Helluva Theater’s “Pirandello 150” festival will continue all year long but it’s stay at Film Forum will last just a week. They will host several screenings including the 1984 film Kaos, a drama directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani based on Pirandello’s short stories. You will also have the chance to see adapted films of Six Characters in Search of an Author, Henry IV, Tu Ridi, Liolà, The Nanny, and a special version of The Late Mattia Pascal which will feature a live piano accompaniment.

According to their website, Film Forum was opened in 1970 “as an alternative screening space for independent films, with 50 folding chairs, one projector and a $19,000 annual budget.” Over time they have relocated and expanded with thousands of members and a $5 million operating budget where 77% of it is spent directly on programs. They pride themselves on being the only autonomous nonprofit cinema in New York City that commits to “presenting an international array of films that treat diverse social, political, historical and cultural realities.”

Keep an eye out for other events held by Helluva Theater Company throughout the year as they are planning to add lectures and panel discussions on Pirandello as well as numerous theatrical productions. Join them in celebrating the life and work of one of Italy’s most influential writers, Luigi Pirandello!