The Theater: Abstract Antique

HENRY IV by LUIGI PIRANDELLO

Theater-minded people suffer from the belief that Pirandello is a complex and difficult writer. Their tendency is to approach him with excessive reverence, especially since his great theme concerns the intellectually intriguing question of the impermanence of identity—a series of masks that men put on and take off without fully realizing what they are up to. Of all his plays, Henry IV is the least-often produced and the most-often referred to as his masterpiece. This stately revival suggests plenty of reasons for the former condition, few for the latter contention—and may even tempt revaluation of his status...

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